Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 In Review

So this is the second post I'm posting today. UNLESS you're in a cool time zone where you got my last post last night and this post the next morning. I congratulate you. Anywho, I did this tag last year, but it was so good, I'm gonna do it again! (My sister makes fun of my for saying "anywho" but I don't care) (Also, I'm gonna be using a lot of John Boyega/Daisy Ridley GIFs cuz they're hilarious and Rey and Finn are adorable)

What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?
Had a 5 hour plane layover by myself
Took my SAT (scores help with college scholarships, acceptance, and stuff...)
Got my drivers' permit
Started a YouTube channel
Got a black eye
Probably a lot of other stuff too

Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make one this year?
I read and reviewed 50 books, which was my main goal. I didn't write in my journal everyday, but I did pretty consistently, at least till last month. Here's some goals for this year: 
Intentionally stay connected to my long-distance friends 
Read 50 books
Have more "quality" blog posts
Record and write charts for all my arrangements cuz I forget them...

Did anyone close to you give birth?

No, but a new family came to the church with a little girl and there will be a new baby boy soon!

Did anyone close to you die?
Not that I can think of, praise the Lord!

What countries/states did you visit?
I went to California, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
My Grandma's driveway cuz it looks cool

What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
A better attitude, again. A college scholarship, perhaps. 

What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory?
August 2-8, the dates for music camp which I had memorized for like 6 months. Because that's basically all I can think of right now besides Christmas and my birthday and the day for Star Wars even though I saw it two days later.

Did you move anywhere?

No............. Ask me next year :)

What was the best month?
Oooh, I don't know! The summer was amazing! Probably June because I went to camp, took my SAT, and took a 10-day vacation by myself to visit family! August had a lot of fun from music camp to an all-nighter to working on Finale!

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Taking my SAT and getting my drivers permit...

What was your biggest failure?
Ummm procrastination, laziness, and bitterness at times. Yeah, not fun...

Did you suffer illness or injury?
I got a black eye, and I had this weird bump in my finger joint that miraculously shrank last week!!!!
And now both of my eyes look as tired as the right one...

What was the best thing you bought?
Probably my new phone screen so I could actually use my phone! I actually bought a lot of stuff in the past few months, presents and such...

Whose behavior merited celebration?
My parents because they handle a ridiculous amount of responsibilities for our family and church! And Nancy Armour from USA Today because she answered a questionnaire for my research paper that was sooo helpful and encouraging!
Yes, you are!
Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
ANNE SHIRLEY what even are you thinking!!! Come on!


Where did most of your money go?
The Apple Store for my phone screen.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Youth Conference, The Wiz Live, Dollywood, the Hoppers concert

Guys, ik I put this on already,
but seriously, this was like the highlight of the year!
What was the best concert you’ve been to this year?
I went to 4: the Kingdom Heirs, the Hoppers, and the Southwest Southern Gospel Music Festival, and the Gaither Vocal band. I enjoyed the SSGMF because of the variety of artists, but I love the Gaither Vocal Band's music, and I got to meet Trevor Conkle at the Hoppers, so idk!

What song/album will always remind you of 2015?
Any Wiz song because my siblings and I are literally listening to this album instead of Christmas music. Also, the Star Wars Episode VII soundtrack, the John Cena theme, and You Can't Give Up on God because that was my favorite song from the Hoppers!

Compared to this time last year, are you:
As Naomi calls them, the embarrassing questions!
1. happier or sadder?  Happier!
2. thinner or fatter?  Probably fatter...
3. richer or poorer?  Richer, I think...

What do you wish you’d done more of?
Spend more time with God, read, sleep, get up early

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Wasting time again, worrying, freaking out about things I can't control.

ik man ik
What was your greatest musical discovery?

The Wiz and the Collingsworth family because they are so amazing! That is my current favorite Collingsworth song!

How did you spend Christmas?

My grandparents came out to visit us!

How are you spending New Year’s?
Watching the Rose Bowl Parade and college football playoffs!! (Same as last year!) Also finalizing a paper due Monday and studying for some literature exams...

Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?

Talking on the phone would be ASU (*rolls eyes*). Texting would be the group message which, like all group messages, is the dumbest thing you've ever read.

What was the best book you read?
OOOOOOH Violins of Autumn all the way!!!

What was your favorite TV show?
Leverage fo dayzzzz. (I literally have like 10 more episodes in Season 5. Why are you so short?!)
Dat hair flip tho...

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I don't think I hate anyone. There's probably people I don't like that much anymore...

What did you want and get?

A new phone screen, a keyboard (THANK YOU PRECIOUS PARENTS)

What did you want and not get?

Ummm idk. I'm ridiculously blessed!

What were your favourite films of this year?

Wow! My family actually saw three films on opening weekend this year!!!! Charlie Brown, The Good Dinosaur, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Star Wars was the best movie by like a bajillion!!!

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned seventeen, and we went to Bookman's and I got a bunch of used books! Also, it was the day after youth conference so I slept and was basically out of it.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?

As always...

What kept you sane?
God and the Bible. At times, my friends who felt as insane as I did.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I know fancy means crush in Britain, but guess what, this ain't Britain!!! #MURICA! I'm now a Daisy Ridley and John Boyega fan though!! (Rey and Finn from Star Wars)
What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Not freaking out over dumb stuff. And stuff I can't control. 

What political issue stirred you the most?

Umm probably freaking out about the election that I get to vote in because seriously seriously seriously are these my only options?!

Who did you miss?
All my friends from camp!

Who was the best new person you met?

This is hard cuz I met a bunch of new people! I'm actually still in contact with most of them which is a big deal guys! I've talked about Shae before, but she goes to my church and is a big encouragement to me and my family and she appreciates my puns so that's a plus...

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
Life changes like super fast.
to life cuz it changes fast...
Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
All the talents I have I have laid at Thy feet
Thy approval shall be my reward
Be my store great or small, I surrender it all
To my wonderful, wonderful Lord.

This hasn't always been true, but it's something I really worked on this year!

Five personally significant events of 2015:
Getting my drivers' permit
Going to the Southwest Southern Gospel Music Festival
Going to music camp
Going on vacation by myself
Taking my SAT

Five things I want to do in 2016:
Get my drivers' license
Go to college
Play piano for a group (or even preludes or offertories for concerts!)
Get a college scholarship
Go to Stamps-Baxter School of Music in July!!!

Five people I’d like to know better in 2016:
My music camp friends
My blogger friends
Anyone I can learn from!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! 2015 was exhausting, stupendous, exhilarating, and terrifying! To be honest, I'm slightly superstitious in that I like odd numbered years better than even numbered ones, but 2016 should still be great. I mean college, voting, jobs, and the whole adulting run!! Ready or not, here I come!

2015 Book Wrap-Up

I really enjoyed the book tag from The Perpetual Page-Turner last year, so I decided to do it again! Also, you should go check out my year in books HERE cuz I really don't feel like linking to all my reviews right now. BUT I did stick to my goal of writing a review for each and every book! I'm so glad I did as it made remembering stuff a lot better. And now you can stalk my reviews like I stalk yours!

Number Of Books You Read: 73 (Possibly 74 by the end of the year!)
Number of Re-Reads: 25ish
Genre You Read The Most From: Classics/Historical Fiction

1. Best Book You Read In 2015?

REALLY REALLY REALLY this is hard cuz I read soo many 5 star books this year, and they are mostly all classics and historical fiction!! Okay, here's one classic, one historical fiction, and one nonfiction! Happy? And I reference each of these several times throughout this post.
Historical fiction: Violins of Autumn
Nonfiction: Unbroken
Classic: Captains Courageous
2. Book You Were Excited About and Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
There were a few of these, but the one that stands out is Bachelor Girl from the Rose Little House series, but you can read all about that HERE in my Rose series review.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

The Black Arrow because I enjoyed it a lot more as a kid.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Well, Naomi just got Vienna Prelude for Christmas which I recommended a lot LAST year. Other than that I can't think of things people have read. And it's the greatest feeling when people mark books to-read that you're currently reading or want to-read :D

 5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?
UMMM LITTLE HOUSE ALL THE WAY!!! Except for the series ender... I actually didn't finish any series besides that one, so I'll go with the last book of the Caroline series, A Little House of Their Own. (Speaking of Caroline, I got the fifth Caroline book, Across the Rolling River, for Christmas!)

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?

Laura Hillenbrand, but she has only written two wonderful glorious non-fiction books, and I've read both, Unbroken and Seabiscuit. *sobs*

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Violins of Autumn was historical fiction, but it was also modern YA, which is something I almost never read. However, I plan to branch out more this year with your Goodreads recommendations in hand!
 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Violins of Autumn was definitely action-packed, thrilling, and unputdownable, but Unbroken comes in a close second!

 9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Violins of Autumn and Unbroken again :D
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?
Hattie Big Sky just so I can say something different than Violins of Autumn cuz that was a beauty!
11. Most memorable character of 2015?
REY from Star Wars!!! Guys, have you seen it!!! AHHHHH it's soooo good!

Also Caroline Ingalls and Celia Garth and Hattie I-Forgot-Her-Last-Name-That's-How-Memorable-She-Was Big Sky and Adele from Violins of Autumn (Hello, I'm obviously not talking about the singer! (See what I did there XD)(I actually haven't heard that song so disclaimer.))

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?

Gone with the Wind was just WOW. Also Willa Cather writes sooooo beautifully!
13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?
Captains Courageous because it taught me about hard work and growing up and friendship!
 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read? 
Unbroken because my dad has literally recommended it to like everyone we know for the past two or three years.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?

From Little Town on the Prairie
This is what it means to be free. It means, you have to be good. "Our father's God, author of liberty--" The laws of Nature and of Nature's God endow you with a right to life and liberty. Then you have to keep the laws of God, for God's law is the only thing that gives you the right to be free.
Yessss, Laura, you have it!!!!

16. Shortest and Longest Book You Read In 2015?

Gone with the Wind - 1448 pages
The Importance of Being Earnest - 54 pages
 17. Book That Shocked You The Most
(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)
Across the Puddingstone Dam cuz of people coming back!!!!
18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)
Charles and Caroline Ingalls and Lew and Martha Tucker from the Laura series. Also Adele and Robby from Violins of Autumn and Charley and Hattie from Hattie Big Sky!!

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Harvey and Dan from Captains Courageous were soooooo cute! Also the Rey/Poe/Finn friendship in Star Wars right now is amazingly awesome!

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare and Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens

21. Best Book You Read In 2015That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Hattie Big Sky. Thanks Emma Jane!
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?
Charlie and Lew from Little House series and Robby from Violins of Autumn!!!
23. Best 2015 debut you read?
Did I have one of these? I didn't. Well maybe I will this year!

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
The prairie scenes in Willa Cather's books!
25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Any Jeeves and Wooster and the Railway Children by Edith Nesbit and the Penderwicks

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?

New Dawn on Rocky Ridge cuz death
27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
Captains Courageous because like nobody's heard of it!
28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
Bachelor Girl! (PAULLLLLL!!!)

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?

So You Want To Be a Jedi? because it was written almost completely in second person. Just no. Never. Nada. Zip. Stop. It had a nice cover tho...
30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
On the Banks of the Bayou probably? Like seriously Rose what are you doing!!!

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?

Paper Fury! I don't read much YA but Cait's reviews and discussion posts are always entertaining and she has A+ usage of GIFs!
I salute you Cait!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?

Probably my wrap-up of the Little House books.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

Probably my answer post for my blogiversary! 

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

The LMM week with Eva was sooo much fun! I also did a readalong for Little Women with Hamlette so that was fun!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?

Finishing the whole Little House series!

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

So do you put GIFs and pics above or below the paragraphs they relate to?!? Cuz seriously!! Like if I put it above, nobody will know what I'm referencing, but if I put it below, it looks weird! (Or I could always do to the side...)

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

My Random Questions post from Naomi :D

8. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Again, the power of Goodreads! And Overdrive and Hoopla, my library's online reading services.

9.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

Yes! You can read about that HERE!

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?

Welllll, I have a lot of priorities in 2016, but North and South is a must!!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?

This cover is beeeyoutiful!!!
The Lord of the Rings series!
3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I actually marked a 2016 debut as to-read yesterday! It's The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson, but I have no idea if it's any good. I have heard wonderful things about Morgan Matson though! And the next installment in Adi's World, written by a lady in our church comes out next year!
 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?
Perhaps I'll finish the Zion Covenant series before I move!
5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016?
Wow, I plan to read the Lord of the Rings series and I have a blogging surprise coming later this week :D

Monday, December 28, 2015

Reading Challenge Wrap-Ups

I have no idea what to use as pics for this post so be prepared for GIFs. Sparingly, I promise.

This was the first year that I did book challenges and I LOVED THEM!!! However, I probably won't be signing up for any next year. You see, I figured out that I used the book challenges for MY reading benefit only, not for the social and networking benefits I though I would use them for.

I loved the reading challenges because they gave me a plan and a goal. I'm a list sort of person. Like I get easily overwhelmed unless I have a list of everything I need to accomplish, including "fun" things. I know I'm weird, but I'm can't be the only one! That way, I feel as if I accomplish something and my goals are written down! When I knew what I was going to read next, my life sooo much easier. I was also pretty flexible when stuff was obviously NOT gonna happen. Also, I learned that at times it's good to forget the schedule and just pick up something that catches my fancy.

When I find a random cool book
On to the challenges! (You can go HERE to see all the links. I didn't want to just recreate that page.) (Also, I'm not linking to anyone who ran a challenge unless I follow them because I didn't really keep up with anyone else at all.... You can see their blogs and sign-up posts on my challenge page.)

I finished Back to the Classics! That was fun to plan because it had different categories you could pick. That's 7 titles off my Classics Club list, which I recently updated, so you should check that out.

I almost finished Mt. TBR (11/12), which is better than I though I did! See, the Mt. TBR list was a teeny bit hard because you had to have the books on hand at the beginning of the year. I get the reason, but most of the books I had on hand were big classics so that was hard.

I finished the Birthday Month Reading Challenge from Lois, which was my personal favorite! You had to read a book each month by an author born in that month. I just loved this challenge a lot. I thought about doing it on my own this year, but I have other plans to be revealed at a later date :D This was the one I had to be the most flexible with because certain books were just not gonna work in that month. Also, I was soooo late at my reviews for these XD

Call me President actually

I crushed my I Love Library Books goal. I basically stopped listing the books because I crushed it sooo badly :D So that one was fun too!

And I read 9 non-fiction books in my goal of 6-10! At the beginning of the year, I actually expected it to be harder! I can't wait to read some more non-fiction next year!

Annnd I finished the Little House Series, my personal challenge for the year. That was probably the most rewarding one just because I got to follow one family for the whole year! You can see my wrap-up post for that HERE.

Finally, I finished the Reading Challenges Addict Challenge Level 1 because I finished between 1 and 6 challenges or something close to that. I know at least finished one :D

Thanks to everyone who ran these challenges. I had so much fun and learned how awesome planned reading can be! Stay tuned for my reading goals for next year!

And yes, this is my second post today. Because that one finished up a reading challenge...

December Birthday Club: O Pioneers!

If you stalk my reading challenge page or my Goodreads currently-reading shelf, you know that I was supposed to read Sense and Sensibility. BUT I was in the middle of Seabiscuit and Pilgrims Progress and practicing the Christmas program and trying to test out of my English class. So yeah. Because I usually read Jane Austen rather slowly, I realized last week that that wasn't gonna happen. So I looked around and found that Willa Cather was supposedly born in December!

(Actually Wikipedia says probably not, but Google and her tombstone say yes so hey I'll take it!)

Because I really enjoyed My Antonia by Cather which I read earlier this year, I decided to give O Pioneers! a try. Also, I could get it on my phone from the library easily. It was a pretty quick read, especially when I buckled down so I could read the Star Wars book my brother gave me for Christmas :D

This book is hard to describe. O Pioneers! follows Alexandra through her life on the Nebraska prairie as she tries to become prosperous. Not much happens until the last section though. I mean stuff happens, but nothing BIG.  I was more struck by the character development, emotion, and beauty of the writing than the actual story, which is actually pretty tragic.

Like in My Antonia, the scenery is described beautifully. I have always wanted to see the prairie. Blame it on Willa Cather and Laura Ingalls Wilder I guess. I enjoyed seeing the transformation of the farm from poor to prosperous, although you don't actually see the transformation. You just see the beginning and the end product.

I also liked the contrast between those who needed to leave the prairie and see the world and those who belonged to the land. I think there's some of both in me. Also, Alexandra and Emil's relationship was sooo sweet! And Carl!!! I liked him from the start! The ending is tragic, but had certain characters made different choices when they were younger, it might not have happened. That's sad, but it's the truth.

One last word on Alexandra. I liked her and loved how she made smart choices and didn't let what people thought of her influence her, but I didn't LOVE her. As the book says, she was smart, but not clever, and she had trouble relating to people. Although I admire her hard work and love for others, I don't want to be exactly like her.

I loved this book, but I probably won't read it again, at least soon. It's one of those books that's just "there" in your memory, a sweet read that gives you plenty to think about at the time, but then kind of fades. (Kind of like My Antonia cuz I couldn't remember a single thing until I looked it up on Wikipedia XD )

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Life Updating!!!

A Newsies GIF cuz news

To get right to the point, I have some big news! It doesn't affect blogging too much right now, but I thought you guys might want to know in case I reference it in other blog posts or whatever :)

Anywho, my family's moving at the end of the school year (May). We don't really know where yet, but probably in the southeast. (And suddenly I sympathize with Abraham a whoooole lot more...) Also, my dad is transitioning out of the ministry, so it will be interesting not having church as my "life" anymore. But I'll probably write some blog posts about that.

I would appreciate your prayers as it's ridiculously hard not knowing where we're going to be or where I'm going to college. Also, it's hard thinking about leaving a church family that in one form or another has been your family for the past 11 years. This journey is probably one of the hardest things I've ever been through! However, I know God has a plan for my life and that He loves me and that He is in control! I love you all! Thanks for your prayers! And this shouldn't affect blogging too much. I'll just probably have to take a few weeks off this summer :) Thanks for being awesome super friends!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015!

Cuz I got this movie last night!!!!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you're having a wonderful day with friends and family! My grandparents are here so we've been doing all sorts of crazy stuff. Have a wonderful holiday!

There's so much that God's been teaching me this season, but there's one important thing that has stuck out to me. Jesus came to bring "peace on earth," and He is the "Prince of Peace." This is so comforting because a lot of times I don't feel peaceful. Through the Christmas story, I'm reminded that peace for me and the whole world was found in a little baby boy! We don't have to live in turmoil and confusion anymore! The Prince of Peace has come!

This is one of my favorite Christmas verses: Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

To cap it all off, here's two Christmas songs, one by Bing Crosby (Cuz Christmas!) and one by yours truly! Enjoy! (Free sheet music in the YouTube description) Have a very Merry Christmas!

P.S. The next week will be the wrap-up week for reading and life in general!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Little House Wrap-Up

"Silver Lake Reflections"
by Judy Thompson
Well, it's done! I finished the whole "canonical" Little House series, from Martha to Rose. I can't really believe I went through 5 generations of Little House girls, from around 1797 to around 1905, from Scotland to Boston to Wisconsin to South Dakota to Missouri to California! It was an amazing journey that I can't wait to do again someday. It was fun to look forward to my next scheduled read. I reread some childhood obsessions favorites and discovered some new classics, especially in the Rose series! So in this post, I'm going to try to rank my favorite girls, lessons, and books and give some summarizing thoughts on each miniseries and the series as a whole. And I'll try to keep it concise :D

First, the ranking of the girls. This is hard because I love certain qualities in each of them! And obviously, just because they're not number one, doesn't mean I don't love them!

5. Charlotte - Charlotte was nice, but she seemed kind of bland and didn't really have any memorable traits. She also was a little young for me to really connect with although I enjoyed reading about her!

4. Martha - Martha also never got old enough for me to connect with, but I loved her adventurous spirit and her desire for anything new. I also loved the lesson she learned about contentment with where she was in life!

3. Rose - Although I loved Rose as a child, I lost my connection with her as she got older and made some decisions I didn't necessarily agree with. Also, she didn't seem to grow or learn from her mistakes, like hanging out with older dudes...

2. Laura - I love Laura. She has a great work ethic, loves to learn, does what she has to do, is exciting, and just amazing!

1. Caroline - Caroline was me okay! I basically identified with everything she was. (Obviously not the whole living in the wilderness, but you get what I mean!) She loved to teach, was a great speller, loved to write, and just was me sooooo much! And she and Charles are just sooooo cute together!

I'm not going to rank each miniseries because that would be way too hard. And I loved and disliked books from each miniseries! So I'm going to list my favorite books from each miniseries. (Fun fact: I rated about half of the books 5 stars!)

Martha - Down to the Bonny Glen was the one that stood out the most to me! I so enjoyed to the character development in Martha. She learns how blessed she is to have the father and position she has although she may resent it at times. It was a reminder to me to be content in my situations! Also, Miss Crow was awesome!

Charlotte - Across the Puddingstone Dam was my favorite Charlotte book, although I did enjoy On Tide Mill Lane. Puddingstone Dam just had the happiest scene in the whole series when person gets reunited with long-lost person! It still makes me happy and just yes and they hug and they're together and it's soooooo sweet!

Caroline - I enjoyed most of the Caroline books, but my favorite was Across the Rolling River because we meet Charlie. Charlie and Caroline are so cute, which is probably why A Little House of Their Own is my second favorite book of theirs! (BTW these are the only Caroline books I don't have so fingers crossed for Christmas!)

Laura - I rated most of the Laura books five stars (Laura's writing style was off the charts!), but my favorites were These Happy Golden Years and Little Town on the Prairie. I just love the stories of the Ingalls in De Smet, and Laura and Manly are so cute! I just love seeing how the Ingalls go about their daily life and do stuff, which is basically what these two books are!

Rose - I loved the feeling and emotions Roger Lea MacBride puts into his books. My favorite was New Dawn on Rocky Ridge because it made me feel happy, sad, excited, frustrated, and just everything! It was amazing! Little Town in the Ozarks was also great!

And now I'm going to choose one thing that I learned from each miniseries (which will be hard so I'll probably break my own rules...)

Martha - Contentment. This was mostly impressed on me in Down to the Bonny Glen. Martha, the daughter of basically a landlord, has a very different life than that of her friends, and she tends to yearn for the "freer" life of them. However, in Down to the Bonny Glen, Martha learns just how blessed she is to be where she is in life. This is something I literally have to work on every day!

Charlotte - Change. There's a lot of change that happens in the Charlotte books, some good and some seemingly not-so-good. Although I didn't know it at the time I was reading these books, there are a lot of changes my world is going through right now. These books just remind me that change is natural and it's all what you make of it. People have to change!

Caroline - Family. I think I like the Quiner family better than any other Little House family. They were helpful and kind and mostly cheerful. They all pitched in to help in anyway they could. It reminded me to have more teamwork and what the most important things are in life!

Laura - Hard work. Basically, the Ingalls achieved everything through hard work. They had to to survive! There's nothing wrong with hard work, and I probably need more of it. It's just amazing what the pioneers accomplished with just their families and elbow grease!

Rose - Stick-to-it-iveness? The American Dream basically failed the Ingalls and Wilders like a bajillion times. But you know what? They kept going. Laura and Manly faced incredible hardships, but they did what they had to do and never complained! I guess that's the real American Dream, the opportunity to get up and do it again until you succeed!

Now onto mini-review and main ship of each series!

Martha - I loved this one for nostalgic purposes (Guys, I've loved box beds since I was like 8), but also for its details about Scottish culture and its splenidferous character development! The ship for this series is Martha and Lew which works out and is amazing and I love it soooooo much!

Charlotte - I actually enjoyed Martha more than Charlotte in this series. I like how the series has a continuous theme of change. I also enjoyed spending time with the Tuckers! My main ship of this series was again Lew and Martha, but the feels when Martha sees you-know-who-again! It still makes me soooooo happy!

Caroline - I enjoyed the Caroline books again for nostalgic purposes, but also because they're just great! There's a great story that continues, and the characters are lovable! I just love how the Quiners/Holbrooks start over and just do it! The main ship would have to be Caroline and Charley cuz they're so cute and I love them so much! Probably more than any other ship in the series!

Laura - These are classics for obvious reasons. They're well-written, packed with information, yet also amazingly interesting! The descriptions, especially of the open prairie, are beautiful, and most of the time, the descriptions of processes and machines are easy to understand! It's just a great series! Laura and Manly are soooo cute together, especially on the buggy and sleigh rides! (But that age difference though....)

Rose - I did not expect to enjoy these that much, but I ate them up! Again, Roger Lea Macbride puts so much emotion into his books that you feel as if you are the character! Rose kind of disappointed me at the end, but it was a satisfactory series! I still ship Paul and Rose in the train station working the telegraph!! It's just soooo cute!

Overall, I'm obviously glad I read the whole series! It was amazing the overview I got of both American history and one person's life! Someday, I hope to own all of these and give them to my children! Little House will always be a special part of me.

I'm planning on doing a blog party for all the Little House books in February, for Laura Ingalls Wilder's birthday (as suggested by Naomi :) If you're interested in doing a guest post, comment or shoot me an email!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Little House: Rose Series

Yes, that's right. I finished the whole stinkin' "canonical" Little House series. And it was amazing! But more on the whole series in another blog post. Today, I'm going to put my reviews for the Rose series. 

I have mixed feelings about Rose. I seem to swing between "Hey, you're cool!" and "Ummmm okay?" and "WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?" She's definitely not my favorite Little House girl, but she's not all bad! Her younger self is adorable and smart and helpful and cheerful and all-around good. But as she grows up she changes, and not necessarily in a good way :(

She's so cute!

Little House on Rocky Ridge Ya know, I was sort of prepared for a letdown after the Laura years. But guys, this was amazing! It's like MacBride basically got Laura's voice! And something I'll say for the rest of the series, MacBride nails the emotional scenes. I always seem to feel what Rose is feeling! I love how this series portrays Laura and Manly as people who just keep on keeping on!

I love the movement in this cover!
Little Farm in the Ozarks - I love how Rose helps her Ma and Pa with no more than the usual kid complaining! She's a great kid! I also love how she recognizes thoughts that are wrong, such as her envy of that other family and her dislike of Blanche! She's a very aware little girl! (She sort of grow out of that awareness however...) I also love how she spells and wins because spelling is soooo me! And competitions of any kind are better if you have someone close to your skill level to compete against! All in all, I love how Laura and Manly are finally beginning to see their dreams come true! (And I totally understand their stance about land and fire. We have a lot of big wildfires north of where I live, and it's horrible to see the damage!)

My Grandma had a donkey named Otto once.
It was really, really loud!
In the Land of the Ozarks This book was little episodes but connected mostly by Abe's courtship with Effie! I'm still trying to figure out what Spookendyke means in Russian. I also found Alva and Rose's tension interesting. Rose reminds me of myself. She doesn't really fit in anywhere yet. She's too "cityfied" for Alva, yet she's not as sophisticated as Blanche! Also, what was with the lie she told about Abe courting another girl!? I'm glad Laura made her apologize (good parenting right there) but what even!!!

On the Other Side of the HillWell, I was prepared for this book to be verrryyy depressing thanks to the synopsis and the "foreshadowing", but it wasn't. (That wasn't very good foreshadowing anyway because it wasn't exactly true..) It was happy for a long time, and so many good things happened!(That wasn't very good foreshadowing anyway because it wasn't exactly true..) At least till the last fourth of the book. 
Pretty much...
Also, random remark, these books cover a lot of years, but seem to keep the reader more up to speed with Rose herself than the later Laura books do. Just a thought. 

Anywho, what is with Rose and her teachers? On the one hand, I can see why Laura let her stay home, but I think she should have made her finish at least the term! She should have stuck with her decision! Oh and I love the wish book! And Laura's self-control with it! I can see myself in Laura because I hate to spend money unless I reallllllllly want or need something (or slushies). I'm weird, I know. I appreciated Laura's remarks on growing up and controlling yourself even if you're thinking true but rude things!  And the end!!! *sigh* At least everyone was safe! (That cyclone was wonderfully written!) And the fire!!! I just feel so bad. It seems like every time they're ahead, something comes to pull them back!! It's not fair, but that's life. And I appreciate the Wilder's attitude with it!

Little Town in the OzarksI read this quite a few months ago, but I wrote chapter summaries so I would remember it when I finally got to the Rose books! I remember liking quite a few things! A lot of parts a verrry well-written. For example, when Laura debates for the Indians! YESSSS She's sooooooo good at debate! And then Rose's emotional breakdown is actually pretty realistic and written so splendidly that the reader feels sooo bad for Rose and just like her at the same time! I love how Nate learns to love books and Rose finds Mrs. Rippee's library! And Mr. Craig tells a story that's basically an Auld Mary story, so that was wonderful. I  seem to have just one major hiccup with this book. What in the world was Rose sick with?!? Somebody puhlease refresh my memory, was it because she wore her wet swimsuit or something? Oh well! Over all, this was a splendiferous book! (Besides Rose's attitude at the beginning....) Roger Lea MacBride continues to impress me!

New Dawn on Rocky RidgeWell guys, this book had me experiencing every single human emotion! Let's just go through one by one!

 First confusion. I probably read too fast, but what was that whole thing with Miss Sarah. It kinda seemed important but flew over my head. It has stayed with me though, and I'm not sure why. I guess it's because I'm not totally through processing it! 

Annoyed/frustrated: Seriously Rose, drop the attitude. Just like please. It sort of made the middle of the book rather disagreeable. And that whole thing with Elsa? Really? Like how did that seem a good idea?! 

Sad/sort of sobbing: When I read about the death of a tiny character I was upset. Not crying, but upset. And then the death of y'all know who. I was *this* close to crying and crying hard. To be fair, it had been a hard and emotional week so I was already to the point of tears, but that was hard! Wow! I loved how the story was told from Laura's point of view! 

Excited: Rose and Paul!!!!!! FEELS!!!!! Side note: I love her letters! That's so cool! Because this book ran the whole list of human emotions and touched me, I had to give it 5 stars! (Somebody should make a literary web series of this series!)

On the Banks of the BayouWell, this is where it goes downhill, at least in my opinion. You see, Rose moves away and starts to learn Latin and do all this cool stuff and meets this awesome Acadian family (probably my favorite part of the book), but then she gets politically active in socialism and courts another dude? What? Also, I wished we could have seen more of her at school :(
Anywho, I'm not mad that Rose got politically active and I admire her for standing up for what she believes, but because I very strongly disagree with her stance (except for women's rights), I feel like I don't connect to her as much. This is probably just me, and I'm currently wrestling with whether your opinion of a character should be influenced by her politics. Also, she was a little pushy about the whole thing too. It was interesting to see the issue from a Socialist's viewpoint though. I don't know, Rose just seemed to change. A LOT. And why was she even hanging out with that dude after everything that happened with the salesman!! Really!!! I guess her whole attitude was sort of off-putting. This is still a good book, I just don't like Rose as much as I used to.

Bachelor GirlThis was a disappointing end in some ways. I did like how Rose was on her own and got started with her life. That sounded extremely hard, but I love how she met each challenge! On another note, I liked Rose's friends, but they were so different than Rose and had so many different values than her, that I felt bad for her. She made some choices that I don't think she should have, but she's grown up now! I did like Mr. Lane I guess. And that brings us to the second point! 
Oh look, it's my ship...
PAUL. One of the best chapters was the boat ride one. (At least that ship didn't sink, unlike mine....) It was so sweet and they were together and just YESSSS. BUT PAUL MAKE UP YOUR MIND. I get why he left her. She changed soooo much. But wasn't that kind of his fault for just leaving her. Not that Paul would or could have forced her to stay a certain way, but Rose wouldn't have been pushed to change if she was with Paul living the cutest dream ever! Ughh a little bit was Rose's fault, but most of it was Paul's. What do you expect! She's seriously been living in a different world for 2 years! ARGHHHH It probably wouldn't have worked out anyway :( I like how it ended with Rose off to new adventures though with a nice guy who we all know eventually married her. 

And I love it when the Little House girls are the same age as me! 

Although it ended on a positive, I still feel that Rose changed too much in this book and the previous one for me to love her like I did in the beginning. And I totally understand if you still love her. She has many lovable qualities! I just love her younger self a lot more. This series was a gratifying, although at times disappointing end to a wonderful supercalifragilisticexpialidocious series! (There's no spelling line on supercalifragilisticexpialidocious by the way!)

Also, I'm hoping to finish Pioneer Girl by the end of this year, but I'm not really feeling that yet. However, because Christmas break is coming, I will hopefully have more time to finish it! hahahahahahah we'll see how that goes!