September 8, 2015

My Summer Reading List~~Mini Book Reviews

Over the summer months, I had a goal. It was to NOT check out any books from the library (I succeeded...except for a couple times ;)) and read all of the un-read books that I own. Believe it or not, I have had books for more than 2 years that have still not been read. -cringe-

Unfortunately I did not complete my goal (hey there was like 26 of them, plus I bought some new ones...) but I did read many of them. I found some new favorites, realized I will never read some of them again, and didn't even finish a couple. So, I thought it'd be fun to compile a list of the books I read along with "mini reviews". Hope you enjoy!

Catrin in Wales~Mabel Esther Allan
I absolutely loved this book. It was a light, sweet, refreshing read perfect for a cozy cup-of-tea rainy day. New favorite. Read my full review here.

On Hope's Wings~Melody Carlson
Light and easy. It was fine, Nothing special and kind of boring although the 1940's time period and characters were quite nice.

Hidden Pearls~Hayden Wand
I enjoyed this book very much, although (and I hate to say it) not quite  as much as I expected. Sometimes it felt a little slow and the beginning of the first chapter confused me because a lot of characters were introduced at once. I did love the characters, though! Constance was such a fun and lovely heroine. Edward was the perfect hero. Jack and Merry were absolutely adorable, as were Margaret and Arthur. I also found this book fun to read because it's the first published book of one of my favorite bloggers!
Here is her blog:

To Kill a Mockingbird~Harper Lee
Let me say right off that I have not finished this book yet. Did I like it? Very much! I loved the style and the way the story progressed. I adored reading about Scout and Jem and their adventures. And Dill! And yes, who can forget Atticus? He was great. But, I was taken aback by the amount of language and the casual use of the Lord's name that was scattered through the book. They were not necessarily misusing His name, but it was enough that it made me wonder whether I should read the book. I know not everyone feels this way, and I almost didn't include this book on the list just because I didn't feel like going into my reasons for not finishing it. I still have the book on my shelf. I set it down for now. Maybe I'll pick it up and finish it one day, but I'm just not sure yet.

Lorna Doone~R. D. Blackmore
Good, but not as good as the movie. Too long and drawn-out sometimes. I liked how it was written from 1st person (John's) perspective.  Carver having multiple wives and a son was weird. Lorna was sweet.

Ann Rutherford and the Key to Nightmare Hall
Ann Rutherford and the Key to Nathmare Hall-Kathryn Heisenfelt
This is an old children's mystery book published in 1942. The plot  was "different" and I suppose being locked in a house against your will until someone finds the key is suspenseful but I just didn't care for it. The heroine, Ann, (based on the actress) was pretty dumb and annoying. It reminds me of low-budget mystery films made back then. Entertaining when you watch them, but not very memorable.

Donna Parker in Hollywood-Marcia Martin
Another older children's book, published in 1961. Cute and sometimes funny. I loved the 1960's time period and the "fun" of being a teenager back then. It had a mystery aspect to it as the heroine loses a small decorative "god" (which I thought was weird) that was going to be a present for her aunt and uncle. Just so-so. I probably wouldn't read it again.

Heart's Lonely Secret-Jane Peart
Not my favorite Orphan Train West book. I've read three other books from the series and liked them much better. This one was kind of boring, and very anticlimactic. The plot was slow. The heroine, Ivy, annoyed me. I wish she had met the circus people (her first adoptive family) again, as that would have been interesting.
The worst part of this book was the last sentence:
"Ivy closed her eyes for Baxter's kiss."
UGH. NO. No no no no no no no. That is not how you end a book. Just NOPE. (Oops, I gave away a spoiler, though, didn't I? haha)

Greenwillow~ B. J. Chute
Sweet, lovely, quiet, and quaint. The story doesn't go beyond the small village it's set in, but it's interesting and fun to read just the same. Dorie was so adorable. Gideon (one of my FAVORITE guy names!) was a strong, sensible, responsible hero-I loved him. The whole story is just so sweet! It's humorous and beautiful and the characters are lovely. I absolutely adored Gideon's little brother, Mica. Do read this book if you enjoy quiet, gentle stories with a sweet romance.

Resistance~Janet Graber
Ugh, Where do I start? This was the worst book out of all the ones I'm reviewing in this post.
It started out interesting and I liked it. Then it started going down hill. I didn't finish this book.
This is labeled  as a juvenile fiction book. It was terrible. There was profanity and overly gross descriptions of a messed-up General trying to molest the 15 year old heroine.
Um, What? This is a children's book????
I skimmed the ending to find out what happens and it was absolutely horrible. Someone you wouldn't want to die dies. The mother of the heroine kisses an English soldier they've been giving shelter to....who has a wife and children back in England. (???) The 15 year old heroine practically gets engaged to a 22 year old soldier whom she's known for about half of the was one of the worst  books I've ever read.
Do not read this book. Just don't.

The Screwtape Letters~C. S. Lewis
This was such a good book. C. S, Lewis is pure gold, everyone. He's brilliant.
It made me think and ponder the things presented in the book-and yet, I feel I need to read it up to 100 times to grasp everything I can out of it! It's entertaining and convicting and thought-provoking. Even though it's fiction, it almost feels like nonfiction because the things presented in the book are so real and relevant to us today. I would recommend this book to any mature Christian (I think ages 15 or 16 up would be good-depending on your parents, of course).

Behold the Dawn~K.M. Weiland
Oh my, where do I start with this book??? It was given to me by two dear friends (you know who you are! ;)) and I am so thankful they did because I loved this book! I have so much to say about it that I'm not going to say anything  here. I'm going to try to review it sometime soon.

The Two Towers~J.R.R. Tolkein
Okay, so I actually haven't finished it yet, but my word. It's amaaazzzing.
J. R. R. Tolkien has such talent with story telling and words that it's unreal. He's quickly become one of my favorite authors. I loved The Fellowship of the Ring, but I might like The Two Towers even better. I'm just head over heels in love with this story, and although I know what happens, I can't wait to read Return of the King!!

Pollyanna-Eleanor H. Porter
I feel like I might be betraying my claim to being a book lover when I say...I actually liked the movie better! It was a sweet and nice book (definitely one I'd like my daughter to read someday...if I have one!) but Pollyanna annoyed me sometimes (she talks more than Anne Shirley!) and I liked some of the things they changed in the movie. I do think some things that were in the book could have been kept in the film, though.

And that's that! I've read 14 books this a few from the library and what not. I still have a bunch on my list, though, and so that makes me wonder...would you like to see another post like this? 
I enjoyed sharing the books I liked (and didn't like) with you all, so if you'd be interested in more I'd be glad to do so! Please tell me your thoughts! 
And, have you read any of the books in this post? 
Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts on them?

Thanks for reading!! 


  1. Oh, what a lovely post! :-D And to answer your question, I would love to see another post like this. :-)
    I haven't read many of these but the ones I have read I enjoyed. (And thanks for the warning about Resistance - I'll definitely be avoiding that book! ;-P) I read Pollyanna ages ago, but I really don't remember what I thought of it. I loved the movie, however! I grew up watching it all the time. Except, I'm not sure if it's the same movie that you're talking about. There are more than one. The one *I* know is with the actress Hayley Mills. :-D AND YOU'RE READING LORD OF THE RINGS!!! Yay! I love those books! :-D They're some of my favourites EVER. I think they just keep getting better and better personally, but then I dearly love them all I couldn't decide which is my favourite. I hope it doesn't disappoint you (you already know the ending? That doesn't make it quite so exciting, but it's still pretty epic), but I doubt it will. Who's your favourite character? :-D (or top 5, haha. It's impossible having favourite characters in those series. I have difficultly making it to top 10. :-P) Haha, reading back on what I wrote, I feel like I immediately 'pounced' on you as soon as I found out you're reading them. Sorry, but they're just so good. ;-) I read Lorna Doone awhile back, but I did enjoy it. I think I prefer the movie too, though (it was very well done, I thought). :-)
    ~Miss Meg March

    1. Thank you, Miss Meg!! I'm glad you enjoyed it! :D
      Yes! The Hayley Mills one is my favorite, too! I want to see the other version, but I do love the Disney one very much. :)

      Eee, yes!! The LOTR are amazing. No! I'm sure I won't be disappointed. :) The only reason I know the overall plot is from a Lego LOTR video game I've played with my brother. Reading the books, I realize there's SO much detail I never knew, though, and I can't remember everything about the end, so it will still be good.
      Ha! That's a terrible question. ;) Well, right now my favorite character is Sam...but it can change back and forth.
      I don't mind. Don't apologize-they are SO good.

      And yes, I liked Lorna Doone (the book) too. I just prefer the movie overall. :)

  2. Whoa, you read more books this summer than I did! :-) To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my top favorites. I also love Greenwillow dearly. (By the way, did you know there's actually a musical of Greenwillow from the 60's???!!! I just found that out the other day, and I had a mild heart attack. It all just proves that there's a musical version of anything, if you look hard enough!)

    I'm intrigued by Catrin in Wales -- I'll have to keep an eye out for that one! And of course I still want to read Hidden Pearls.


    1. Wow, no I didn't know there was a musical! I never would have guessed. Hahaha, so true. I'll have to look it up!

      Oh, yes! It's such a lovely book-do try it! And yes, Hidden Pearls! Isn't it so fun to read other blogger's books? :)

  3. AAAAAAGHHH YOU'RE LOVING TTT! I'm so happy. You don't even know.

    TKAM is a wonderful book, but yeah, there is a bit more content in there than I had expected. I remember being a little taken aback when I read it for school. But it IS amazing:D

    The Screwtape Letters! You're right--C. S. Lewis is gold. He's my top favorite author overall:D

    Behold the Dawn looks pretty doggone awesome. And Lorna Doone--I have it waiting on my shelf, too;) The movie is so great!:D

    1. Hahaha, I don't even have to ask which book you're referring to that I love. ;)

      Oh, glad it wasn't just me! :)

      Yes! I need to read more of his books. And I need t re-read the Narnia books. :)

      It is-do try it if you can! Ahh, I love that movie so much. :) Tell me what you think of the book!

  4. Oh! This is a fun post! Thanks for sharing! You certainly outdid me in the reading department this summer. I feel like I haven't read hardly anything. Actually if I wanted to come up with any sort of list I'd have to come up with a list of the books I did NOT read. And of course that would be far too long. So I won't do that. Haha!

    To Kill a Mockingbird: Oh! I really like that book. The characters are all so real. You can truly feel what they're feeling. And I agree with you completely about the style. Harper Lee definitely has an excellent way with words. But yes, it's true. There's an awful lot of bad language. Why? Why? Why? (I guess that's just the way people talk...but, still, it's very annoying.)

    Donna Parker in Hollywood: My grandparents have that book! The exact same copy! I've never read it, but I just had to comment on it because...I KNOW that book! :)

    Greenwillow: I never heard of this one before, but it sounds like one I might enjoy. I like quiet, simple stories...if they have good, well developed characters. I'm going to have to remember this one and look for it at the library sometime. I think I need to make a reading list. :)

    The Screwtape Letters: I should definitely read this one sometime. I've only ever read the Narnia books, so I don't have a very well-rounded view of C.S. Lewis' writing. It would be good to expand a little. :)

    Behold the Dawn: I've never heard of this book, but I'll look forward to reading your review! :)

    The Two Towers: Woohoo! I love The Lord of the Rings! I'm so glad you're enjoying it. Yes, they're absolutely amazing books! They're so beautifully written...just like a song. And the characters are wonderful! I don't know which of the three books I like better--they just kind of go together! But I can think of some REALLY good parts that are coming up in The Return of the King, so I'm excited for when you get that far! :) (By the way, have you seen the movies? Which do you like better, the movies or the books?)

    Pollyanna: Haha! Yeah. This was not one of my favorite books, either (I'm not even sure if I finished it). Pollyanna certainly gets on my nerves sometimes. She's too cheerful. (I can't stand extremely cheerful people!) Also, she's made out to be so perfect and I just can't seem to relate to perfect people...for some reason. ;) Haha. It also annoyed me the way Nancy was forever repeating herself. "I do. I do," and stuff like that. It was just so terribly awkward. Did you notice that? (By the way, which Pollyanna movie have you seen? I've only ever seen the version with Hayley Mills.)

    I would totally enjoy reading another post like this sometime, if you feel like doing one! It's fun to see what kinds of books you've read...especially if I'm familiar with some of them. I love talking about stories! :)

    ~Miss March

    1. Wow, thank you for your long comment Miss March! I love that your comment highlighted so many of the books I listed. :)

      Yes! I did love how Harper Lee conveyed the emotions and just how things were back then...she certainly knows how to write "real" books. (Although, the language may be a little to real for my tastes ;))

      Haha, how funny! :D

      Ohh, Greenwillow was SO lovely. I do hope you can try it-I think you'd like it a lot!

      Heehee, this was my first taste of C. S. Lewis' "real" writings--and it definitely made me wanting more!

      Yes! Just like a song, indeed. I can't get over what simply beautiful writing Tolkien created! He's probably my favorite author at this moment. LOTR is amazing. Eek, now I'm so excited for RotK! I haven't seen the movies yet, but I'm hoping to try out the Fellowship soon...we'll see! I'm sure I'll still like the books best, though. :) I'm so glad I'm reading the books first!

      The Hayley Mills version is the one I've seen, too. Oh, I'm so glad I wasn't the only one! Nancy got on my nerves, too. She was just so.....dumb. :P Sorry, Nancy.

      Oh, good!! I'm so glad you liked it...I'll definitely try to do it again soon!

  5. I read The Screwtape Letters this summer, too -- fancy that! About a month ago.

    And ohhhhh, Behold the Dawn..... now just who could those people have been?!? ;D Happy sigh. You're making me want to reread it yet again and I can't wait for your review!!! :)

    1. How funny!! Did you enjoy it?

      Heehee, I have no idea. It just slipped my mind who it could have been. ;) Haha, now YOU are making me want to re-read it again! Perhaps I shall when I'm ready to review it. It's never a bad thing to get a "double dose" of a book you love!

      I was referring to the Disney Hayley Mills version. Eowyn told me about the version you mentioned-it sounds lovely! I really want to try it sometime...I'll be sure to tell you when I do! :D

  6. P.S. Oh! And which Pollyanna movie were you referencing? I've seen both and really like the newer one made in 2003. So sweet and very British!

  7. You have my Tolkien button up! Many thanks :-) I'm getting so excited for this year's party -- I have 13 prizes lined up for the giveaways, a bunch of them from totally different shops than the last two years. And I'm working on the games now, which is always great fun.

    Anyway, congrats on all your reading! Very awesome. I also like the Pollyanna movie more (the Haley Mills version), but the book is fun too. I think I like Lorna Doone better than you, but that's okay, it's not a huge favorite of mine. Same goes for TKAM.

    1. Haha, your welcome! I was so happy you had a button with Sam on it. ;)
      Ooh, it sounds so fun! I'm so happy to be able to participate, now that I've read some of the books.

      Thank you!

    2. I've got three games done, one to go! It's going to be great fun :-)

    3. Yay! I saw your new header and it looks great. I'm getting so excited now! :)


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