Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Author: Randy Alcorn (based on the screenplay)
Genre: Life
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 370
Time period: Present
Passage from book: “Nathan left his truck running and door open; he turned away only seconds – or so it seemed. When the door slammed, he swung around as his truck pulled away from the pump! Adrenaline surged. He ran toward the driver’s side while his pickup squealed toward the street. “Hey! Stop! No!” Nathan’s skills from Dougherty High football kicked in. He lunged, thrust his right arm through the open window, and grabbed the steering wheel, running next to the moving pickup.  {The driver} accelerated onto the main road, but Nathan wouldn’t let go. TJ {the driver} repeatedly smacked Nathan’s face with a vicious right jab, then pounded his fingers to break their grip… Nathan’s toes screamed at him, his Mizuno running shoes no match for the asphalt. Occasionally his right foot found the narrow running board for a little relief, only to lose it again when his head took another blow.
My overall opinion: Wow. What a book. I haven’t seen the movie (YET) but having read this, it’s at the top of my to-watch list! I really enjoyed the story of these men! The opening chapter was definitely attention-capturing, and I was glued to the whole book. I can’t praise it enough. Read it! Several people have mentioned that the movie is better (which would make sense, since this book is based on the screenplay), but if it’s true that the movie’s better, it must be out of this world, because this book was really amazing. And moving.
**Since writing this review, I have seen the movie. J It was great. J I accidentally wrote a second review of the book, forgetting that I’d already reviewed it…it was the same in almost all respects. A few things about my overall opinion did change, so I’m pasting it here: I really liked the book. I read it before seeing the movie (and was quite glad I did). I really enjoyed the story in and of itself…riveting. It’s very exciting, and a book I’m glad to own. Definitely read if you want an exhilarating story! Yes, those opening scenes (see above) are absolutely amazing! Wow. **

Seven Truths about Homeschooling

I suspect that many of you have seen the Seven Lies About Homeschooling video floating around lately (if you haven’t, look up “messy mondays: seven lies about homeschooling” on youtube). Having watched it, I was inspired to think of the seven truths about homeschooling…hence this post. It has nothing to do with Jane Austen or the 1800’s, or even with books; just homeschooling. But I’m posting it here anyway, just for fun. J I don’t have the skills needed to make up a hilarious video, but hey, this is the next best thing.

Truth #7 – No snow days. Or minor holidays. That’s right. When you have school at home, you don’t get snow days! If you propose the idea, no one but your siblings will agree with you (important note: this means your parents won’t agree). Your mom will reason that it’s rather pointless to take a snow day since it’s already obvious that you aren’t having trouble getting to school – in fact, you’re already there. Homeschoolers don’t even get minor holidays, like Presidents Day, off school. An exception might be if your dad works at a school, and gets the day off…if you’re lucky, and he stays home, you may get the day off too.

Truth #6 – Everything is a learning opportunity. This comes into play in many instances. For example, let’s say you go shopping. After the cashier gives your mother the total of her purchase and Mom gives her a hundred dollar bill, Mom’ll turn to you and ask you how much change she should get back. If you don’t figure it out before the cashier does…woe is you! Back to extra math cards at home. If you do figure it out, the next store is a different total, and a fifty dollar bill instead. Moms can even turn playing games like Angry Birds into a learning experience – you learn all about things such as physics and the best angle for a long shot.  

Truth #5 – You drive a bus. This one might not be true of all homeschoolers, but many of them. Most homeschoolers at least drive a mini van, and some go for the 15 seaters! You pull up in front of WalMart, and people almost always watch as the kids file out of the van in an orderly (or not so orderly) manner…kid after kid. You can see the watchers counting heads, and marveling that ONE mom can keep ALL THOSE KIDS under control! And once you get old enough to drive, well, in all probability, you don’t get a cute little Mini Cooper or maybe a Bug to drive. Nope, you’re homeschooled, so you learn to drive the family bus! And there’s always a younger sibling who wants to go wherever you happen to be going.
Truth #4 – You’re not with friends 24/7. Well, actually, your mom would probably argue that you are. “But honey! You’re with your brothers and sisters all day! And they’re your best friends, right?” What I mean here is that you don’t go to classes with a whole bunch of friends eight hours a day, before retreating home to talk to them on the phone while texting other friends, and then going shopping with some of them after that. Oh, we have friends, definitely! And we even see them regularly. But we don’t spend most of every day with them.

Truth #3 – Sick days are rare. “You have a cold? Mild bout of the flu? You can still come upstairs right? You can’t walk? Oh dear…well, that’s fine, yes, you can stay in bed all day. We’ll just bring your schoolwork to you. Did you say take the day off of school?!?!? Why in the world would we do that? Because you’re sick? Now that’s no excuse. You can still think, right? And see? And hear? That’s wonderful because it means you can do school. You can’t see? Let me call your little brother down here – he can read you the problems and then you can solve them in your head. Listening hurts your ears? Well…we’ll put in ear-plugs and have him shout. That should at least change the type of sound coming in. You can’t think with the noise? Maybe you really ARE sick…have some herbal tea. Or maybe a little chicken broth?”
Truth #2 – Leftovers for lunch! When you live at home, your mother probably won’t have any problem with feeding you leftovers from the night before for lunch. In fact, that’s probably something you’re going to have all the time. Occasionally, there may an emergency in which there are NO leftovers! Eeek! Look out, this tends to send moms into panic mode. However, calmly propose having something like Ramen noodle soup, or maybe macaroni and cheese. If you’re lucky, she won’t be able to think of something healthy to eat (and she won’t discover any leftovers in the fridge or freezer). This truth may not be true in a big family (as in, 7-10 kids) but in the smaller ones (about 5 kids) this seems to be a daily occurrence.

Truth #1 – You’re weird. Er, make that cool. Be warned ahead of time – public school kids will think you’re just a little weird. Some think you’re really weird. But hey, we think they’re weird too, don’t we? Definitely, you and I are different from them…but I think it’s different for the better as opposed to anything else. So, enjoy the differentness while you can! J
There you have it, folks! Comment, and tell me what should have been included but wasn’t. And which one was your favorite. J

**Note: my own dear mother is complaining about how I’m making her sound like an ogre, so I figured I’d better specify – it’s not as bad as it sounds. Just about everything is exaggerated; it’s a caricature, so to speak, people! So, don’t judge my mom by this. J

Monday, January 30, 2012

Movie: Meet Me in St. Louis

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5
Genre: Romance, musical
Primary actors: Judy Garland
Length: About two hours
Time period: Late 1800’s, I’m guessing. J
Year it came out: 1944
My overall opinion: I enjoyed it. In fact, if you enjoy fluffy, flouncy, fun dresses, you want to see this just for that. I enjoyed them so much! It includes the fun (but silly) song “Meet Me in St. Louis” along with “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” This, incidentally, is where the latter first appeared. It’s so famous now! And "Trolley Song" was here...it sticks in your head for months afterward. I've seen this movie just once, in early November, and that song is still running through my head.  Judy was an excellent actor, though I didn’t find the boy next door all that handsome. It was a good movie.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Spotlight: Jack Hudson

Jack Hudson (Sue Thomas F.B.Eye TV series)

Played by Yannick Bisson.

I am currently, well, really liking this guy. I've only seen two Sue Thomas episodes (one was a double feature though) and enjoyed them greatly. They're not reviewed here, though.

Tiny picture, yes, but he's in it. :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

To My Friend Larkin...

Happy birthday, girl! Though we haven't met often, we know each other pretty well, all things considered, don't you think? I love your blog, and I love emailing you, and I especially love when we get together. Have a wonderful next year! I'm looking forward to getting to know you even better. Love you!

The rest of you...make sure you check out the delightful blog mentioned above, Libri! I know you'll enjoy it too.

P.S. to Larkin...just re-discovered myself on your bucket list. <3 :)

Pompeii: City on Fire

Author: T. L. Higley
Genre: Life, adventure
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5
Type: Historical fiction
Number of pages: 389
Time period: Around 79 a.d. (so I’m calling it Bible times, though it’s a little after)
My overall opinion: Quite the book! Learning about Pompeii in this way was most interesting. I really enjoyed Higley’s writing, and the story was riveting. If you like historical fiction about Bible times (or rather, pre 500 or so) this one should interest you. Awesome story!

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Best Man

Author: Grace Livingston Hill
Genre: Romance
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 172
Time period: Early 1900’s
My overall opinion: Grace Livingston Hill is one of my favorite authors. J This book was distinctly different from many others of hers, a Secret Service guy who unwittingly gets married. Yeah, how do you unwittingly get married? Well, he did. A fun story!

Jane Austen Devotional Giveaway!

Check out this great giveaway for The Jane Austen Devotional by Steffany Woolsey on a favorite blog of mine, Old-FashionedCharm! It looks like such a fun book. J  

Click here to enter!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dead Heat

Author: Joel Rosenberg
Genre: Adventure (specifically, a political thriller J)
Series: Well, having read four of the five books, I think this series is simply called The Last Jihad series. As you may know, I read them entirely out of order, this one not excluded. Apparently it’s a five book series, and this is the final one. The books are: 1. The Last Jihad. 2. The Last Days. 3. The Ezekiel Option. 4. The Copper Scroll. 5. Dead Heat. I read them in this order, quite confusing myself: 4, 2, 3, 5, and going to read 1 soon. Do try to read in order. :P Unlike me.
Number in series: 5th
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 400
Time period: Future
Passage from book: It was going to be bloody, but it could be done, if they moved fast.
My overall opinion: WOW. When I finished this book, that was all I could say. It was riveting, and terribly frightening. Joel Rosenberg bases his books (or at least, some of them, including this one) on the end times prophecies in the Bible. I believe they are similar to the Left Behind series, but not having read that, I’m not sure. This book was amazing. I agree with the opening sentences of Rosenberg’s foreword: “I pray to God the novel you hold in your hands never comes true. Certainly not as written.” This is an astounding book that I do recommend. Read the others first.
Incidentally, my favorites were 3 and 4, and this one was good too, if scary…this could really happen!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Movie: Little Dorrit

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9 (actually, it’s not quite a 9.5, but probably a 9.3 or 9.25 or somewhere in there. J Yes, I’m being too precise…which is why I went for just a 9)
Genre: Classic, romance, life
Primary actors: Clare Foy, Matthew MacFadyen, Andy Serkis
Length: 7.5 hours according to the back, but popularly rumored to be 8 hours. J
Based on: Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens.
Time period: 1800’s
Year it came out: 2008
My overall opinion: I really liked it. Matthew MacFadyen is unbelievably better than he was in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice which is where you all know him from. J I really liked the soundtrack, I found Amy to be a lovely heroine, the scenery etc was awesome, and it was altogether worth 8 hours. Can’t wait to watch it again. There are a few objectionable scenes, but if you watch it with someone who’s watched it before, you can figure out what to skip. (Or, if you’d like, email me and I’ll send you the list I have of what to skip) I used a list from Miss Elizabeth (Elegance of Fashion) and just using that was enough to miss everything bad. It includes Mrs. Jennings from S&S 95, and Andy Serkis is Gollum in Lord of the Rings. I loved it!

There's Andy Serkis! Scary. And you know what? I SAW that very dress that she's wearing in that picture in a traveling show of various movie costumes. Now I saw it before I saw the movie, but studied it carefully and managed to identify it! How cool is that?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cover Focus: Head in the Clouds

Head in the Clouds by Karen Witemeyer

Book blurb from goodreads.com : Adelaide Proctor is a young woman with her head in the clouds, longing for a real-life storybook hero to claim as her own. But when a husband-hunting debacle leaves her humiliated, she interviews for a staid governess position on a central Texas sheep ranch and vows to leave her romantic yearnings behind. When Gideon Westcott left his privileged life in England to make a name for himself in America's wool industry, he never expected to become a father overnight. And five-year-old Isabella hasn't uttered a word since she lost her mother. The unconventionality of the new governess concerns Gideon--and intrigues him at the same time. But he can't afford distractions. He has a ranch to run, a shearing to oversee, and a suspicious fence-cutting to investigate.

When Isabella's uncle comes to claim the child--and her inheritance--Gideon and Adelaide must work together to protect Isabella from the man's evil schemes. And soon neither can deny their growing attraction. But after so many heartbreaks, will Adelaide be willing to get her head out of the clouds and put her heart on the line?

Read my review: I liked this book quite a bit. :) Read my review right here!

Why I like this cover: I love this cover, because if you look at the back, it suddenly becomes nearly hilarious. But I’m not going to tell you exactly why, though you might guess. The girl, who looks a little distracted, is wearing a fairly basic yellow dress. A little lace at the collar and cuffs dresses it up. Isn’t it funny how she’s playing with her hair? And what do you think that face expression means? I think it’s almost got a smile in it, but she’s definitely very engrossed in her story. Try as I might, I couldn’t see the title on the book. I think it might be a Jane Austen – she’s mentioned to be an Austen fan in the book. J You can tell she’s “out in the wilds” somewhere…some outbuildings are visible across the yard, but they’re outbuildings, not other houses. And I think that that’s a saddle on the rail behind her! As usual, I love the whirly letters in “Head” and “Clouds.” Such a pretty way to write it!

I Was Interviewed!

Crystal, over at Just Another Book Lovin' Girl, interviewed me! I am delighted. :) You can read the interview now (and learn some interesting things about me) by clicking HERE! See you over there!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Birthday: David Arnold

David Arnold


Birth: January 23, 1962

It’s his 50th birthday!

You know him because – he’s the composer of the wonderful soundtrack for Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the 2010 movie.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Last Holiday Concert

Author: Andrew Clements
Genre: Children
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 166
Time period: Present
My overall opinion: Very much like Clements’ other books. A fun good story, good for a short read.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Movie: Fireproof

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9
Genre: Inspiring
Primary actors: Ken Bevel, Kirk Cameron, Erin Bethea
Length: About two hours
Time period: Present
Year it came out: 2008
My overall opinion: It was very good. I liked Courageous more (these movies were made by the same Christian producers), but this one was also pretty amazing. It’s a marriage story, but there are no sensual scenes. Alex and Stephen Kendrick, the producers, are very careful about that. It’s exciting, it’s sweet. Again, not a movie for little kids, but I’d say it’s fine for older ones. Check IMDB if you want more info. Great movie. Oh, btw, I really like Ken Bevel. :) He's an awesome actor and a wonderful character in this movie and the other.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Movie: Courageous

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9.5
Genre: Inspiring
Series or set: The notable thing is that it’s made by the Kendrick brothers, who have also come out with three other movies: Flywheel, Facing the Giants, and Fireproof. The notable thing about that is that they’re Christian. So there isn’t swearing, unmarried people don’t kiss (even if they’re technically married in the movie), and it’s very clean.
Primary actors: Alex Kendrick, Ken Bevel
Length: About two hours
Time period: Present
Quote(s): Honor begins at home.
Year it came out: 2011
My overall opinion: Wow. What a movie. I saw it just after reading the book (written by Randy Alcorn, and based on the screenplay for the movie). It was amazing, and I really liked it. The opening scene is potentially the most attention grabbing opening scene I’ve ever seen…not to mention that it’s really really sweet. It is rated PG-13, so I don’t recommend it for little kids, but older ones? Totally. A little violence, a police chase or two… *smile* I cried through the whole thing, starting with the first scene. Okay, not quite constantly, but quite a bit. Normally, I hate movies that make me cry. But for some reason, I still came out of it loving this one. It’s got a strong Christian message, and truly is inspiring. Highly recommended.