Browsing Category: reading

#LoveBlog2017 Day 3 | Fictional Couples

Fictional couples have a lot they can teach us about love.

Yesterday, I talked about my crushes, including some of my fictional crushes. Well, today, I’m going to talk about which fictional couples I think are great together and good examples of real and fictional love.

Fictional couples have a lot they can teach us about love.

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Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Reading Roundup | August 2016

Book reviews on The Dark Garden, Uppity Women, ZInk, Harry Potter & The Cursed Child, and The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands.

It seems that whenever I’m really into blogging, my reading suffers. Whenever I’m really into reading, my blogging suffers. And, that is exactly what happened this month. I was able to begin and finish five entire books this month! I loved being able to read this much!

Book reviews on The Dark Garden, Uppity Women, ZInk, Harry Potter & The Cursed Child, and The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany

Book review on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

I know a lot of people had harsh opinions about this and were disappointed. But, I actually really liked it! This play is about Harry’s son, Albus, and how he has to live in the shadow of his father, The Boy Who Lived. Albus isn’t very good at anything magical and is friends with Scorpio, Draco Malfoy’s son. Oh, and he’s a Slytherin. But, when an opportunity comes to try to fix a “mistake” in Harry’s past and make a name for himself, Albus jumps at the offer–only to cause some bad rippling effects.

I really liked the premise to this story–it made sense to me. Especially the part about Voldemort having progeny. I loved that idea. I also really liked the symbolism of the Augery. The distance and awkwardness between Harry and Albus made complete sense…I mean, how would you feel if you were a mediocre wizard whose father was the famous Harry Potter?!?! And, if you were Harry Potter, how would you feel with a son who did poorly in all things magical? And for that matter, the relationship between Draco and Scorpio was well done. Given Draco’s past and his relationship with his mother and father and all the emotional and mental turmoil he went through, especially since the order from Voldemort that he had to kill Dumbledore, it makes complete sense that he wants something different for his son, but just doesn’t really know how to do it. It was so fun for me to watch this play happen in my mind and makes me really curious about how they do all the magical stuff on a stage without CG or special effects! Too bad it’s going to take forever for the play to come on tour OFF Broadway in America.

However, there are a few things that I didn’t like. I enjoyed the play format and understand why, but I would’ve liked it in a novel format. In fact, I’d be willing to read a whole series about Albus Potter! I also wanted more background on the Augery and the whole Voldemort’s child story. I didn’t like Ron’s character at all. I think he was just downgraded to a buffoon adult comic relief. I also thought that the ending was a bit rushed and anti-climatic.  But overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it and loved talking with my husband about it. I read it in 48 hours, then he did the same after me, and we’d talk about it for hours together.

The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger

Book review on the famous Dr. Laura's book, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands
Image Via

My husband doesn’t like books like this. He sees the title and thinks, it’s another book for women to say how to deal with men, it’s all about degrading men. Well, my mom told me to read this book. She literally handed it to me as I was leaving for Texas and told me to pay attention to it and take good care of my husband. I trust my mom’s taste as she really loves and respects my dad. And, it’s more on how to be a good wife, how to stop being a whiny, nagging, entitled b**. It honestly reminded me of a book I read last year called When Beauty is a Beast

The whole point of this book was really to let women know that men are truly and completely different then women, and typically, it’s the women’s fault for not trying to understand men that causes a lot of arguments and tensions in the family and marriage. Dr. Laura used a lot of examples from clients on her radio show and letters she’s received and I found myself shaking my head numerous times at these pitiful women ruining their own marriages, but trying to blame or change their husbands. Although it wasn’t necessarily as insightful as When Beauty is a Beast to me, it was still a nice way to reflect on how I treat my husband and think of ways to do a better job at being a better, more supportive, less complaining wife.

But, be warned, Dr. Laura is very Christian and has many conservative Christian ideals about marriage in her book–which I liked because they aligned with mine and how my religion feels about marriage and family. And, she is very obviously against feminism…so, if you are a feminist, please take what she says with a grain of salt! She still has great advice on being a better wife!

Zink by Cherie Bennett

Book review on the YA novel, Zink by Cherie Bennett.

This is about a 4th-6th grade reading level YA novel from my classroom collection. I’m making a good dent in it! Anyway, this is a cute little novel about a young girl, Becky, who gets leukemia. It follows her as she goes through treatment, and remission, and then had a relapse. But, through this whole time, she had the company of three Zebras who gave her friendship and courage, and allowed her to travel to Africa in spirit. They also taught her the story of Zink, the brave Zebra who was different from all others and was proud of it.

Bennett wrote this book for a girl she knew who was suffering and died from leukemia. She had other young kids suffering from cancer draw the illustrations in the book and had a lot of information about it at the end of the novel. It is definitely a sweet book, and I cried a little at the end.

The Dark Garden by Margaret Buffie

Book review on YA thriller The Dark Garden by Margaret Buffie.

This is another one of my classroom YA’s. It is definitely a high school read, though, and is a thriller with paranormal events. Thea, a sixteen year old, got in a bike accident and received traumatic amnesia–she couldn’t remember anything about herself, her family, or her past. But, she started seeing ghosts and hearing voices. She wasn’t sure if this ghost, Susannah, was actually herself and her memories, or if she truly was Thea. But, with the help of a local farthely priest and a teenage clairvoyant named Lucas, Thea was able to begin to piece memories and scenes together and figure out a murder mystery.

I initially liked the idea of this book, but I thought the writing was a little all over the place and too confusing with the points of view and timings. I also absolutely hated Thea’s family–the parents were basically absentee, and the kids definitely needed social services to care for them. I also thought the climax was a bit anti-climatic, especially with all the spooky and paranormal buildup. It also happened way to fast.

Uppity Women Speak Their Mind by Vicki Leon

Book review for Vicki Leon's Uppity Women Speak Their Mind.

I love learning and reading about women in history. They are so fun, especially when it comes to the subject of “uppity women”. I love the famous quote, “Well-behaved women rarely make history,” and this book falls into that category. This book has short one page vignettes about women and a quote they are famous for. I often found myself smiling or doing imaginary fist pumps after reading about each woman. There were even some coarse women that I literally would laugh out loud after reading. I loved this easy, fast read, but wish that it was organized in a different way–maybe either alphabetically or chronologically.

What books did you read this month? Which one of these would you like to read?

Tayler from The Morrell Tale.com

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Reading Roundup | July 2016

Book reviews on: The Devil in Vienna, Why Not Me, Miriam, and Understanding Your Endowment. Join the Reading Roundup linkup, a monthly linkup of book reviews for all the books read that month!

Well, it typically seems like when my interests online wane, my interest in reading waxes. This month for the Reading Roundup, I actually read and completed four books! I’m so proud of myself! However, one isn’t pictured below because it was an e-book.

Book reviews on: The Devil in Vienna, Why Not Me, Miriam, and Understanding Your Endowment. Join the Reading Roundup linkup, a monthly linkup of book reviews for all the books read that month!

Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling

Book review on Mindy Kaling's Why Not Me.
Via theconcernsofmindykaling.com

I had loved reading Mindy’s first book, so I was excited to read this book, especially since I had watched all of the Mindy Project. This one was a bit more thematic, especially when it came to the empowerment of women and working hard to follow after your dreams. Mindy talked a lot about how she still is an ordinary person, and to be honest, I believe it. She was very clear on her sometimes disdain for her body, looks, and eating habits. I liked this book a whole lot more than her first. I feel like I really caught a glimpse of her in real life and separated that from her Mindy character–and that was a big point of hers. She hated being seen as Mindy Lahiri in real life.

Miriam: Book 2 of Treasures of the Nile by Mesu Andrews

Book Review on Miriam by Mesu Andrews

* I received this book from bloggingforbooks.com in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

This is the second in Andrews’s Treasures of the Nile series. I read and reviewed her first book, The Pharaoh’s Daughter, and when I found out that she was writing a second, but it wouldn’t be published until 2016, I couldn’t wait. So, I was very excited to read this one!

Miriam takes place a long time after the first book. Miriam is now 80 rather than the young woman helping to raise her brother Moses and keeping his birth a secret. Moses has already run away to Midian for 40 years. Miriam is known as a seeress, a prophetess, able to communicate with El Shaddai–an ancient name for the Hebrew God. But, He has recently been quiet towards her…and then Moses returns with the news that Yahweh, El Shaddai’s true name, has communicated with him and told him to free the Hebrew slaves. The book follows Miriam as she struggles with her new relationship with a suddenly unknown God and her nephew (Aaron’s son), Eleazar, a slave-warrior who is the body guard to Pharaoh’s first born son and how he grapples with loyalty and protection and believing in his Hebrew heritage’s religion.

Again, Andrews did a great job developing her characters. I loved seeing Miriam struggle with her personal relationship with God. It was so poignant. He never changed, but her understanding of Him did and that was hard for her to grasp. It really spoke to me because of my trial of faith last year. However, I did feel that the book followed Eleazar more than Miriam. And, as the 10 plagues of Egypt continued, Andrews seemed to speed up the pacing, which was a bit sad. However, I do really hope that she writes a third about the 40 year journey in the wilderness!

The Devil in Vienna by Doris Orgel

Book Review for The Devil in Vienna by Doris Orgel

This is a WWII book, as is obvious by the front cover. Inge, a Austrian Jew, has to say good-bye to her best friend, Leisolette, as she moves to Germany to go to a Hitler Youth program against her will. Inge receives a journal from her grandpa and writes her feelings about the fast changes of Austrian nationalism to complete acceptance of Hitler’s idealism.

I did feel like the author tried to make it Anne Frank-ish, but with a hint more sarcasm as Inge makes fun of the idea of naming a journal, etc. Also, the back cover leads the reader to think that Inge and Leisolette’s “forbidden” friendship is the main plot of the story, but it really is only mention in the very beginning of the book, then the last 1/3 of the book. However, it was a quick read and I didn’t like putting it down. A lot of it was open and honest, like Anne Frank’s journal because Orgel said that this book was based off many experiences she had herself as a young Jew in Austria during Hitler’s raise to power.

Understanding Your Endowment by Cory B. Jensen

Book review of Understanding Your Endowment by Cory Jensen.

This is a Mormon book, with Mormon theology in it, so I’m sorry if it isn’t of interest to my other readers. But, it was definitely of interest to me.

For those who don’t understand, the endowment is the “ritual” of ordinances and covenants we make the first time we go through an LDS temple. A lot of it is very confusing to those who go through for the first time. Mainly, because we aren’t really sure what to expect. What happens in an LDS temple is personal and sacred dealing with our personal relationship with Christ and understanding His saving Grace and His plan for us on a deeper, more intimate level. Because of this sacredness, we don’t really discuss much about it outside of the temple–it’s sacred, not secret.

I, personally, received my endowment four years ago, a week before I got married. I have been through the temple numerous times since then, repeating these ordinances and watching a sister-in-law, a brother, and a sister go through their own endowments. Every single time I go, I experience and learn something new–that is the point of the endowment. However, it also happens to be a point of questioning for many. Many think it is too Mason-based, some think it is ridiculous, some don’t understand the deeper levels, etc. That is why I was really interested in reading this book. Although I will be the first to admit that I don’t understand everything about the endowment or the reasons behind it, I do feel pretty comfortable with it. I wasn’t necessarily confused the first time I went through. But, that is because I am very good with symbolism and its intertwining with history. It’s always been an interest of mine. Yet, this past year, I’ve been trying to understand my faith and beliefs on a deeper level. And that’s what I liked about this book. Jensen tries to peel back layer after layer and made you realize that each part of the endowment meant, symbolized, promised, and required numerous different things. It was real interesting to think of the endowment in some different ways I never had before. I suggest all Mormons read this book! Honestly, it should be part of Temple Prep curriculum!

What books did you read this month?

Tayler from The Morrell Tale.com

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Reading Roundup | June

Reading Roundup June 2016: Born to Treason, Sacred Gift of Child Birth, Sonnets of Faith book reviews.

All right, y’all! It’s time to get back into the grove of blogging! (and into the grove of life!) I didn’t even do a Reading Roundup in May, so I have two months of books to show you (and I’m super, super late with the sponsored book reviews! Holy cow!). And…I didn’t really even read that many books!

Reading Roundup June 2016: Born to Treason, Sacred Gift of Child Birth, Sonnets of Faith book reviews.

Born to Treason by E.B. Wheeler

Reading Roundup June 2016: Born to Treason, Sacred Gift of Child Birth, Sonnets of Faith book reviews.

**I received this book free from Cedar Forts Publishing in exchange for a review. But, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Joan Pryce is not only a Catholic during the English Reformation but also Welsh, and comes from a family of proud revolutionaries. But when a small act of defiance entangles her in a deadly conspiracy, a single misstep could lead her straight to the gallows! Joan must decide between fighting for freedom and finding love. (Summary from Cedar Forts Publishing.)

I mean, how much more interesting to me can a book get?!?! I loved reading about a Welsh heroine during Elizabeth I’s reign! There was even Welsh phrases, terminology, and culture correctly placed, but no duh. The author studied medieval history, especially Welsh…I mean, if I didn’t know better, I’d think that I wrote the book! It was well-written as well. I thought the characters were very good and deep, the plot was solid, and it wasn’t overtly romantic. I definitely recommend this book to all history and British lovers!

The Sacred Gift of Childbirth by Marie-Ange Bigelow

Reading Roundup June 2016: Born to Treason, Sacred Gift of Child Birth, Sonnets of Faith book reviews.

**I received this book free from Cedar Forts Publishing in exchange for a review. But, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Bigelow is a certified doula, who also happens to be Mormon. She views childbirth, especially natural birth, as a sacred gift from God. And honestly, I have to agree. The men get the priesthood, we have motherhood. We are able to share in God’s power of creation as our children develop in us for 9 months. I remember when Rhys was born, Justin said he had never felt closer to the veil and heaven than that moment. One of my favorite parts about this book was one of her reasons as to why natural childbirth is a perfect gift from God and is sacred. She said that it is a small glimpse and experience of what the Savior did for us: unspeakable pain for others so that they might live. Christ suffered more than we could ever know and gave His life so that we might live again, both physically and spiritually. Mothers go through almost unbearable pain so that our children might live. I never thought of it that way.

However, as much as she claims she is unbiased and just wanting us to make the best decision for ourselves, Bigelow is quite biased towards unmedicated natural birth. I wish it was more of finding the sacredness in all aspects of childbirth rather than focusing mainly on natural birth.

Sonnets of Faith by Dona Wilding Haws

Reading Roundup June 2016: Born to Treason, Sacred Gift of Child Birth, Sonnets of Faith book reviews.

**I received this book free from Ambassador International in exchange for a review. But, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

I absolutely loved this beautiful book. Haws picks different scriptures from the Bible and writes Shakespearean sonnets based off them. The sonnets are wonderfully spiritual. But, more than just that, there are amazingly gorgeous paintings that accompany each theme of sonnets. I cannot stress how beautiful this book is. And, I truly felt Christ’s spirit near me while I read it. It’s perfect for a morning devotional! I’ll definitely be keeping this book on a coffee table.

What books have you read this month?

Tayler signature

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Reading Roundup | March 2016

I had a nice well-rounded month of reading. I read a few novels, finally finished Better Than Beforeand read a very insightful non-fiction book.

reading roundup march 2016

A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman

I actually read this last month for Bonnie’s February Book Club. It is about an old man named Ove, who is very grumpy after his wife dies of cancer. At the book club, we kind of agreed that he was like Carl from Disney’s Up. I didn’t like him at all. He was grumpy, judgmental, and a bit of a stick in the mud. I did begin to feel sorry for him and like his back story a bit as we got to know him more and more. However, I would have loved to have known more about his wife. The ending wrapped up all nice and sweet and perfectly, and I thought it was ok. We don’t always have to have a tragic ending or one that ends with a bang. But, you do have to be in a good mood to read it since Ove is rarely in a good mood.

Rival to the Queen by Carolly Erickson

The author has spent a lot of time devoted to researching the Tudor era and has written a lot of history books, as well as historical fiction, on the subject, so she definitely knew her material. (I hope to be the same way eventually one day.) It is about Lettice Knollys, “cousin” to Elizabeth I. Elizabeth’s mom, Anne Boleyn, was famous for her marriage to Henry VIII after he divorced his first wife and left the Catholic Church. Well, not many people realize that she had a sister named Mary Boleyn, who was the king’s mistress. There is a known bastard son between them, but it is hinted that Lettice is also Henry VIII’s granddaughter through Mary Boleyn. In this novel, Lettice is more beautiful than Elizabeth, and she is always jealous, especially when Robert Dudley (whom historians love to analyze Elizabeth and Dudley’s “affair”) marries Lettice.

Obviously, I was enraptured by the story, loving the Tudor era as I do. However, I didn’t like how the author described Elizabeth. I know Elizabeth had her own personality issues, but she was described as a flighty, mentally ill woman, whereas I believe she used her “womanly wiles” with purpose during her reign. It was also a little boring at some times, being more historic than novel. But, I really liked the plot and story itself.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Check here for the full review!

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What books did you read this month?

Tayler signature

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.