Saturday, August 30, 2014

Book, books, books!

    Hello! Today we'd like to show you some pictures of our books. These are the books that we haven't read yet, and they are in order (top to bottom) of how we plan to read them.
*The order of the books could be changed, this is simply how we plan to read them.

Elinor's Books:

Reached by Allie Condie
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
Get Lost by Dannah Gresh
Entwined by Heather Dixon
Crater by Homer Hickham
Crescent by Homer Hickham
The Shunning by Beverly Lewis
The Confession by Beverly Lewis
The Reckoning by Beverly Lewis
Cinder's Midnight by Jeffrey Overstreet
The Reluctant Heiress by Eva Ibbotson
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Miss Fortune by Sara Mills
Watcher in the Woods by Robert Liparulo

Marianne's Books:

Just Jane by Nancy Moser
Maid to Match by Deeane Gist
The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen 
When Calls the Heart by Janette Oke
Found in Translation by Roger and Kristi Rae Bruner 
Beauty Secrets by Deborah and Rachel Newman
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
The Soul of Prince Caspian by Gene Veith
Answers Book for Teens by Bodie Hodge, Tommy Mitchell and Ken Ham
Mary Magdalene by Diana Wallis Taylor
Fiction to Read Together:

Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma
The Last Thing I Remember by Andrew Klavan
The Long Way Home by Andrew Klavan
The Truth of the Matter by Andrew Klavan
The Final Hour by Andrew Klavan
Veiled Rose by Anne Elizabeth Stengl
Moonblood by Anne Elizabeth Stengl
Kingdom's Hope by Chuck Black

Devotionals to Read Together:

Dating Mr. Darcy by Sarah Arthur
Live to Give by Austin Gutwein 
Escaping the Vampire by Kimberly Powers
Success for Teens
Girlfriend, You are a B.A.B.E by Andrea Stephens
Boyland by Andrea Stephens
Wild Grace by Max Lucado
Green's Not Your Best Color by Mieka Phillips
The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel
The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel
Destination Unknown by Gordon S. Jackson
Bible B.A.B.E.S by Andrea Stephens
True Images Devotional

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Book Review: The Butterfly and the Violin

Title: The Butterfly and the Violin
Author: Kristy Cambron
Rating: 5/5

Plot: Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire fir distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she saw as a young girl - a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes. 
   In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover - the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul - who may be the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the paintings subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron. 
   A darling of the Austrian aristocracy of 1942, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.
   As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely places: the grim camps of Auschwitz and the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.
Copied from the back of The Butterfly and the Violin

 I could easily say this has been the best book I have read in a long time. The story was beautifully crafted and eloquently worded in ways that made you feel as if you really were in the darkest corners of Auschwitz. It was an amazing book that I will definitely read again in the future and recommend to all my friends and family.

Characters: Even though I was able to connect with all of the characters in an incredible way, I definitely connected with Adele the best. Cambron wrote her in a way that you could just understand. I loved every character and will not easily for get any of them.

Emotion: While this was mostly a depressing book, there was some humor now and then to try to relieve the reader a little bit! I felt that the book really showed what Auschwitz would have been like. It didn't sugar coat anything and depicted the rawness of it all beautifully.

Quality: As I said before, I haven't a book this amazing in ages. The author did an outstanding job with everything. It was obvious that she had done plenty of research, but she wove into the story perfectly so you felt like you learned something, but you hadn't just received an entire history lecture or anything!

My Thoughts: I absolutely LOVED this book! The romance level was perfect. I loved how everything connected in the end to create a beautifully complex and original story. I loved everything about this book and wouldn't change a thing that happened. I can't wait for the next Kristy Cambron book to come out!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Book Review: A Match Made In Texas

Title: A Match Made In Texas: A Novella Collection
Author(s): Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, Carol Cox, and Mary Connealy
Rating: 4/5

Plot: In the small town of Dry Gulch, Texas, a good-hearted busybody just can't keep herself from surreptitiously trying to match up women in dire straits with men of good character she hopes can help them. How is she to know she's also giving each couple a little nudge toward love?
Copied from the back of A Match Made In Texas

Individual Plots: A Cowboy Unmatched - Neill isn't sure who hired him to repair Clara's roof-he only knows Clara desperately needs his help. Can he convince this stubborn widow to let down her guard and take another chance on love?
Copied from the back of A Match Made In Texas

An Unforeseen Match - Hoping to earn an honest wage on his way to the land rush, Clayton ends up on Grace's doorstep, lured by a classified ad. He may have signed on for more than he's expected though-and he may have found the one woman who can keep him from moving on.
Copied from the back of A Match Made In Texas

No Match for Love - Andrew can't fathom how refined Lucy ended up as the caretaker to his dotty aunt, and somehow her arrival has prompted even more bizarre occurrences around the ranch. When they join forces to unearth the truth, will the attraction between Andrew and Lucy develop into more?
Copied from the back of A Match Made In Texas

Meeting Her Match - When the tables are turned and a tenderhearted meddler becomes the beneficiary of a matchmaking scheme, her world is turned upside down. As her entire life changes, will she finally be able to tell the banker's son how much she cares for him?
Copied from the back of A Match Made In Texas

Characters: I felt that all of the characters in all of these novellas were perfectly written in an understandable way, which I imagine is a difficult hard task with such a story of about 10 chapters. It was very easy to relate to each and every person and I really enjoyed seeing all of their struggles and victories.

Emotion: All of the novellas were very humorous. They made me laugh out loud several times and really kept the book light-hearted. These were all great stories that I thoroughly enjoyed!

Quality: These books were very well written and enjoyable. The authors did a great job at getting the whole story across in about ten 10 chapters.

My Thoughts: Over-all I really enjoyed this book! I'd heard it was really good, and so when I saw it at the used book store a snagged it as soon as I could! However, there are a few things I would like to point out to let you know why I rated it 4/5 instead of 5/5.
1. I felt that in a few of these novellas, the romantic relationships developed way too quickly. In one of them the characters had known each other for less than a week and they were getting married, and in another they knew each other for about 1 1/2 - 2 weeks... I thought that this was rather unrealistic and, truth be told, unwise. Not that the characters weren't perfect for each other or anything, I just felt that it was a little too hasty.
2. In the last novella the gossipy women of the town spread rumors of a false scandal. We later on find out that their intentions for doing so  were positive, I just felt like they could have done what they were trying to do in a different way.
3. In the 2nd novella there was a kissing scene that got a bit descriptive. Nothing over the top, but just enough to make me a little bit uncomfortable.
Aside from these three things I thought the book was perfect! I loved  how you got to see the characters from previous novellas. It was a great book that I would recommend to many!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Our Favorite Movies and TV Series #1

BBC's Call The Midwife:
Both of us and our Mom have thoroughly enjoyed this TV series! We can't wait for the next season to air and are looking forward to all of the exiting things that will happen! This series is focused on the nuns and midwifes that deliver the many babies born in Poplar, a small town in the east end of London, England. It is set in the 1950s.

The Amazing Spider-Man (1 and 2):
Ah, yes. Spider-man... our all-time favorite super-hero! We love super-hero movies, but these are definitely our favorites! We really like it best because of the whole geeky, techie side and we're kinda geeks! :)


 BBC's Sherlock:
 We have only seen the first two episodes of this series and are already kinda in love! This is a TV series that we enjoy watching with our Dad, as he is also into cool mysteries. We have ten episodes left to watch on Netflix, but after that we have to wait until 2016 for the next season! BBC, you're killin' us! This series is set in modern day London and is a really cool twist to the whole Sherlock story.

The Hobbit (1 and 2):
Oooohhhhh yeah! These movies are awesome! We definitely like the second better than the first, but they were both completely epic! The third one comes out in December and we are so exited! To read our review for the second one, click HERE!

Pride and Prejudice:
Yes, we could easily say this is one of our favorite movies! The story it so complex and original. Jane Austen was an amazing author! It's one of those love stories that doesn't seem totally fake. We've watched it countless times!

The Book Thief:
Oh, don't even get us started on this one... here just read our movie review! :)

The Lord of the Rings (1, 2, and 3):
We love these movies! They are inspiring movies that are really fun and exiting! We like them because they really make you stop and think about the reason for it all.

Saving Mr. Banks:
Set in the 1960s, this movie tells the story behind Mary Poppins. Specifically, about the author and her experience with Mr. Walt Disney. It is very touching, but we will warn you, it is very emotional.

The Chronicles of Narnia:
These movies are very encouraging exiting and true to the books. They really portray Narnia as it should be. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Book Review: The Miner's Lady

Title: The Miner's Lady (Land of Shining Water Series)
Author: Tracie Peterson
Rating: 5/5
Age Recommendation: 12+

Plot: Chantel Panetta returns home from a year long trip to Italy, to find her younger sister, Isabella, in love. This should be thrilling news, but it's not. Isabella is in love with a Calarco. The Calarcos and Panettas have been enemies for years. When Isabella asks Chantel not only to keep the knowledge of her growing affection for Orlando Calarco a secret, but also to help her continue their secret meetings, Chantel is very reluctant. However, she soon meets Orlando's older brother, Dante Calarco, and finds herself feeling unexpected emotions for him. But how could the two blossoming relationships continue to grow as long as the families keep feuding?

I thought this book was great! I had never read any of Tracie Peterson's books before, but I knew she had a ton. I can't wait to read more of her work and will certainly keep my eye out for more of the Land of Shining Water Series!

Characters: Where do I begin? The characters were beautifully crafted and portrayed in a way that you felt like you'd known them forever without having pages and pages to read about their looks and personalities. It was clear from the start that Isabella was a sweet, cheerful young woman, and Chantel was sensible and kind-hearted. Both young ladies loved the Lord, and did their best to please Him. Orlando was a very passionate man who stood up for what he believed in, no matter the price, while Dante was rather stubborn and gruff but had a soft-spot very few got to see.

Emotions: This book was awesome! It may sort of sound like a Romeo & Juliet re-make, but while there are some similarities, it's not directly a re-telling. There were a few times that this book make me laugh out loud!  Most of the time, the person I found humorous was Dante, as he was so stubborn, grouchy, and serious about some things that it was just kind of funny!

My Thoughts: Ok. I bought the book on Monday and finished it on Thursday. I didn't read it at all on Wednesday because we were so busy. That's how quickly I devoured it! Like I said, I can't wait to read more of Tracie Peterson's books. The romance level is p e r f e c t. It's sweet and romantic, but not over the top and silly. The reasons for my age recommendation are as follows:
-There are a few scenes in a bar.
-In two of those scenes a man is injured.
-Two men are killed and one of the scenes gets slightly descriptive. Not too descriptive, but it lets you know how the dude died and it's kind of gruesome.

I felt those scenes were mostly necessary to the story and those were really the only kinda inappropriate parts. Anyway I would definitely recommend this book to any Christian Fiction fan! I simply loved how much the Lord was talked about and glorified in The Miner's Lady!

Favorite Quote:
"Stay close to God, Orlando. If you draw near Him and Issy does likewise, you will find that you draw closer to each other, as well."