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Classic Children's Literature Event & Other Musings

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Wow. It's been a long time since I've been active on this blog. Reasons? I'm afraid I got bored. Bored with the layouts, bored with reviewing books, just bored of the online blogging life in general, though not bored with my blogging friends, I promise.

A weird side effect of going to a writer's workshop is that I suddenly lost all desire to write. No doubt my lack of inspiration was born out of fear of inadequacy, something I've always struggled with where my writing is concerned, and I let that fear mandate my online life. Not that I was ever all the active on my blog; not when you can look at any number of book blogs and find them posting 4 reviews a day. As much as I would love being able to read that many books, my 40 hour a week job requests my presence. Alas, for all those poor, unread books!

But if there's one thing I know, it's that I have always enjoyed participating in Amanda's Classic Children's Literature Event. She used to host it in …

CCLE - Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald (1947)

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My sister read a ton of children's fiction growing up. She had diverse tastes (still does), and so her books were a little bit of everything, including the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series. I was pretty much a Hardy Boys kinda girl, so our tastes almost never crossed, but now that we're both adults, I'm actually trying some of her favorite books when she was a kid. Hence my rather odd choice of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle for this challenge.

I LOVED it. You have this dear older widow woman who befriends pretty much every child in her small town, invites them into her upside-down house (the chandeliers are on the floor, etc.) and just lets them play and be creative. Eventually word gets out that Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle knows children, so whenever children in the town start to rebel, inevitably the parents seek out Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle for her "cures." Like the little boy who doesn't like to clean his room; she just advises them to let the mess get so big that he can't get out o…

CCLE - Mary Poppins Comes Back by P.L. Travers (1935)

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It's that time again! Time for the Classic Children's Literature Event hosted by Amanda at Simpler Pastimes!

My first read of the event is Mary Poppins Comes Back by P. L. Travers, originally published in 1935. I never imagined myself attempting to reconnect with this character since I didn't much care for the first book in the series, not because of the author's writing style, but simply because Mary Poppins is not a likable character.

However, I did pick up Mary Poppins Come Back and did read it faithfully from start to finish. These books are written rather like Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh, in that each chapter is a separate vignette that eventually forms a clearer picture of the characters' lives and personalities. I'm still not entirely sold on the formatting, but it does hold its own form of enchantment for readers, like a collection of short stories all written about the same characters.

As for the book itself, Jane and Michael are the oldest children in th…

Taking a Break with Kong: Skull Island (2017)

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In a fit of the good old adventuresome spirit, I talked my sister into watching Kong: Skull Island with me today. Thank goodness it was still at the theater! I'd been trying to go for a viewing since it hit theaters last month, but life got seriously in the way.

Oh well, it turns out that today was a good day for a trip to the theater. And Kong: Skull Island was a PERFECT movie for my Jurassic Park-loving self.

The Good Bits
Tom Hiddleston - Does this really need explaining? I sure hope not. I even love listening to him swear in his British accent, and for the most part, he really didn't swear all that much. Just helped keep people alive, figured out that Kong might not be a mindless killing machine, and made googoo eyes at the cute Brie Larson. It's like the adorableness of Brendan Fraser making The Mummy movies just that much better!

NOT in the city - Does anybody else get tired of Kong being in the city, crunching buildings, climbing towers, and roaring? I was ready fo…

Book Review: Murder on the Moor by Julianna Deering (Drew Farthering #5)

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Published 2017, rated 5 stars
Julianna Deering is my new hero. She's a queen among women; wielding her pen with the efficiency of Aragorn and his sword Anduril.
Where do I even start with my praises of Murder on the Moor?!

Okay, first of all, great character development in this 5th book in her Drew Farthering series. Drew and Madeline have been married for almost 2 years now, still happy little newlyweds, but Drew undergoes a maturing of character that involves not letting past prejudices interfere with his perception of new people that he meets. He also realizes that sometimes, his wife is right. Big shocker, there. So I was very pleased to see them grow, both individually, and as a couple. As my mother put it (she read the book first), it's terrific to see Madeline be more self-assured and less "whiny." Her words, not mine.

As a huge Sherlockian, it delighted me to see a story that obviously founds its base in The Hound of the Baskervilles, but was also completely uniq…

Book Review: For Love and Honor by Jody Hedlund (An Uncertain Choice #3)

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I didn't think it possible. But I actually enjoyed For Love and Honor. Considering how much I detested, and yes I know it's a strong word but very true, the first two books in the series, I wasn't holding out much hope.

Lady Sabine is wealthy, considers herself plain, practical, and hides a skin blemish that could very easily get her accused of witchcraft. Sir Bennet is the younger son of a family whose eldest son suffered great personal loss and in his grief managed to gamble enough of the inheritance away as to threaten the livelihood of the castle they own. Sir Bennet must find money and fast, but refuses to sell the family's treasured artwork and artifacts. He's a bit of a history nut, and since I too live with one in the form of my sister, I get where he's coming from. Lady Sabine happens to be incredibly wealthy and is tricked into visiting Sir Bennet by her grandmother, a woman who is desperate for her grandchild to find love. While Sabine thinks she is…

The Body Under the Bridge (A Father Gilbert Mystery) by Paul McCusker (2016)

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This is one of those times when I didn't realize how much I missed something until it was given back to me.

I love Father Gilbert. And like most fans of the Focus on the Family radio series, Dead Air is my favorite episode, in all of its spine-tingling glory. So I'm thrilled to find that The Body Under the Bridge bears a strong connection to that episode, in fact, happening before it if we're going in a chronological order. Or after it if you don't care that at this point Father Gilbert has yet to solve the case of the girl who went missing in the Soho district and was the tipping point to him leaving the force and joining the church. Either way, doesn't matter, it's a great tie-in.

The regular cast of characters is ready and in place for this first in, I hope, a series of Father Gilbert Mysteries. From Mrs. Mayhew to Mr. Urquhart, this book is like visiting old friends that I haven't seen in a very long time. And of course, a small section of my heart has al…