Review: Resist by Emily Ann Putzke


Title: Resist

Author: Emily Ann Putzke

Source: Free review copy from author

Publication date: February 22nd, 2016

Pages: 390

Blurb: Munich, Germany 1942—Hans Scholl never intended to get his younger sister involved in an underground resistance. When Sophie Scholl finds out, she insists on joining Hans and his close friends in writing and distributing anti-Nazi leaflets entitled, The White Rose. The young university students call out to the German people, begging them to not allow their consciences to become dormant, but to resist their tyrannical leader and corrupt government. Hans knows the consequences for their actions—execution for committing high treason—but firm in his convictions, he’s prepared to lose his life for a righteous cause. Based on a true story, Hans, Sophie and all the members of The White Rose resistance group will forever inspire and challenge us to do what is right in the midst of overwhelming evil.

Amazon   Goodreads

Ever since reading Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place, I have become interested in resistance efforts during the World Wars, and was excited to dive into Emily Ann Putzke’s newest novel about the White Rose resistance movement.

What stands out most to me about Resist is how seamlessly the historical detail is incorporated into the story. Not once did I get pulled out of the story by a lack or an excess of historical detail-a fact that I didn’t realize until I finished the book because I was so deeply immersed in the story. That takes a certain amount of authorial skill and Emily has that. Her research is meticulous and it brought the characters and the time period to life for me, making the book resound with truth.

Speaking of characters, this book is character driven, and I loved that. Since this book is essentially a fictionalized retelling of the lives of real war heroes, the plot has already been laid out and documented, as have the characters.  Capturing the essence of the characters and what they went through is a tall order but Emily stepped up to the task and mastered it.

Hans and Sophie Scholl, and the others whom they recruited to help them spread pamphlets about the dangers of Nazism and Hitler’s reign and to ignite a greater resistance, were brave people and true war heroes.  The White Rose resistance group were a people united in their yearning for something greater than themselves, something so great they were willing to give up everything in order to save their whole country.

Emily could have portrayed Hans and Sophie and the other characters as inflated, pompous war heroes. But they were also real people, and Emily made sure to portray that as well. She showed the characters struggling with loyalty to the Nazis or doing what they knew deep inside was right. These weren’t perfect people-they still made mistakes.

Hans was selfless. It showed in the way he was never satisfied with his resistance efforts. After a time, simply writing the leaflets was not enough for him. He kept on reaching for more and more, ever throwing himself into more danger, and all because he wanted to see justice in his world and explore how far he could go. Just how much of himself he could sacrifice to help others. He wrangled with emotions-guilt, regret, fear the rush of adrenaline, joy-that were so true that I couldn’t help but feel them along with him. Emily did not shy away from the tough questions. She asked them and made the characters wrestle with them, and because of that, I found that I could connect with them at a much deeper level.

I loved the sibling relationship that Hans and Sophie had, and the friendships that they had with the other members of their resistance group. There was a even a sweet and tastefully written romance thread thrown into the mix. Sure, they were all united by their bravery, but they also had a soft side to them, a human side. They bonded over a love of literature because for them, it was a touch of sanity, of hope, in an insane world. While I sometimes found their dialogue to be a teensy bit unrealistic, most of the time I marveled at how it jumped off the page as snappy and humorous and real.

I also loved Sophie. She was a strong woman. Hans was a compassionate man and his love for others, including his sister Sophie made it difficult to pull them into the resistance effort. Nevertheless, she became involved with a fiery passion for spreading truth and she would stop for nothing. I loved how the men in this book actually respected women; they acted with chivalry towards them but at the same time gave them the room to be the brave women that they were.

And then there was the ending. That heartbreaking ending that stripped the characters to the bone and revealed just how brave they really were.

Resist was a stunning book. It pulled me deep into the story of a young group of people who refused to take the easy path in life by idly watching the machine of government spin round and round. I was pulled into a world of compassion and bravery that shone amongst the heartbreak. I was shown the power of literature, family and friendship. But most of all, I realized just how much of an impact a few people with a heart for being the change they want to see in the world, can make.

Resist is part tribute, part riveting story. And it’s one you don’t want to miss.

I received this book from the author for free in exchange for my honest review.

Buy this book on Amazon and add it to Goodreads.



Have you ever heard of the White Rose resistance group? Thinking of picking this book up?

Book Review: Moonblood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Title: Moonblood

Author: Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Source: I borrowed it from the library.

Publication Date: April 1st, 2012

Pages: 373

Blurb: Desperate to regain the trust of his kingdom, Prince Lionheart reluctantly banishes his faithful servant and only friend, Rose Red. Now she is lost in the hidden realm of Arpiar, held captive by her evil goblin father, King Vahe.

Vowing to redeem himself, Lionheart plunges into the mysterious Goldstone Wood, seeking Rose Red. In strange other worlds, Lionheart must face a lyrical yet lethal tiger, a fallen unicorn, and a goblin horde on his quest to rescue the girl he betrayed.

With the Night of Moonblood fast approaching–when King Vahe seeks to wake the Dragon’s sleeping children–Lionheart must discover whether or not his heart contains courage before it’s too late for Rose Red…and all those he loves.

Ahem. So ummm I kind of wrote this review 9 months ago? And then promptly forgot about it. In any case, here it is now.

My Review

In the third installment of the Tales of Goldstone Wood series, Anne Elisabeth Stengl focuses once again on Lionheart, this time showing his journey through Goldstone Wood as he sacrifices everything to save Rose Red.

I’ll admit that I kind of hated on Leo (yes, I still call him that for nostalgic purposes) after reading Veiled Rose and seeing how he treated Rose Red. Now, once again, Leo faces his past guilt and tries to make things right. Ultimately, that made my favorite part about this book Leo’s inner struggle.

Throughout the story, Leo constantly struggles with temptation. Every time he is faced with a challenge, he goes back to what he’s done before, and briefly thinks that maybe what he’s done already is enough. He tells himself that he tried the best he could, and has done all he could do. However, every time, he reaches deep into his own inner strength and comes to realize that he can do better. He pushes himself to sacrifice to the utmost level to make up for his own mistakes and save Rose Red, his dear friend. It’s hard to realize that you actually haven’t done enough or tried hard enough, but Leo was brave enough to face these things about himself head on. Moonblood was definitely a chance for Leo to redeem himself and he did.

Leo’s inner struggles are also balanced with riveting external conflict that kept me on edge throughout the book. Leo faces many obstacles in Goldstone Wood. He faces the dangerous tiger Ragniprava, a unicorn sent to lure people in, and the formidable King Vahe in the dangerous and alluring Arpiar. King Vahe is the ultimate villain, a  chilling man that aims to awaken the Dragon’s sleeping children on the Night of Moonblood so that they may wreak havoc on the world. He seemed so much more powerful than Leo, and I was constantly wondering who would come out on top. 

I also loved how much world building was packed into this volume. I didn’t know that Goldstone Wood could get even larger, but in this book, Anne Elisabeth Stengl introduces us to new sections of Goldstone Wood. We are introduced to Hymlume’s Garden with its mysterious unicorns, and Arpiar, with its dangerous illusions, roses and goblins. Anne Elisabeth describes everything in such rich and lyrical writing that adds depth to the story and the world.

Not to mention the humor. In Moonblood, we get a closer look at the grand and noble hero, Eanrin, who is quite possibly the funniest character in the series. He is able to help Leo along, as well as Oeric, the goblin, and is always there to provide comic relief. He is such an endearing character because he is not only strong and heroic, but also kind and caring.

This is a book that you won’t want to miss. From the rich plot to the equally complex characters and world, Moonblood will amaze you with its timeless themes of sacrifice hidden behind a beautiful story. I give it a solid five butterflies.

My Rating



Top Ten Tuesday: 2015 Releases I Meant to Get To, But Didn’t

Today I’m linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday.


A lot.

^^That right there could be my whole post. There were a lot of 2015 releases that I wanted to read, but then I just didn’t. I’m okay with that, really. I love making time for older books as well. But still. New releases are exciting! Here are just some of the 2015 releases that I didn’t quite make it to this year.

Winter by Marissa Meyer: Do you know what’s so painful about the fact that I couldn’t read Winter this year? I actually got this book from my library the day it was released. And then life got busier just then and I had to return it before I could finish it. And now there are a million holds. Sadness. At least I can look forward to what I’ve heard pretty much everybody say is a fantastic series finale to The Lunar Chronicles.

Listen, Slowly by Thanha Lai: I read Inside Out and Back Again, also by Thanha Lai, and loved it. It was a breathtaking and touching story, and I loved getting another glimpse of Vietnamese culture and the struggle of Vietnamese immigrants. I’m sure Listen, Slowly will be just as impressive.

Draven’s Light by Anne Elisabeth Stengl: The main reason I haven’t read this book yet is because I’m not entirely caught up with the Tales of Goldstone Wood series.  You don’t really have to read the series in order, but I want to. I have two more books (Shadow Hand and Golden Daughter) and a novella (Goddess Tithe) left before I can read Draven’s Light. In any case, Stengl is a masterful storyteller and I can’t wait to read this latest installment.


Black Dove White Raven by Elizabeth Wein: I got this one from the library and then had to return it before I could read it as well. Maybe that should be the theme of this post. Anyways, I loved reading Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire, also by Elizabeth Wein, and I love historical fiction so when I heard this book was coming out, I couldn’t wait to read it. Besides, that the title is the fabuloustest.


Ain’t We Got Fun by Emily Ann Putzke and Emily Chapman: I’ve heard nothing but good reviews about this one. It’s told in letter format, which could either not work at all or work excellently. I’m confident it will be the latter. It seems like such a sweet historical fiction story.

Pendragon’s Heir by Suzannah Rowntree: Like many of the books on this list, I have heard great reviews of this one. It is a thick tome featuring an epic adventure with very heavy influences from Arthurian Legend. In fact, I believe it is a King Arthur retelling. I think. I have been so impressed by the depth of Rowntree’s writing on her blog and I can’t wait to see it featured in story format.

A Time to Speak by Nadine Brandes: I read the first book, A Time to Die, and loved it. It’s actually a dystopian book (which makes it surprising that I enjoyed it since I almost never read/enjoy dystopian) about a society where people know the exact time when they will die. The story was thought provoking and asked a ton of tough questions. I can’t wait until I get my hands on the sequel!

A Wish Made of Glass by Ashlee Willis: This book is a short novella retelling of Cinderella and it sounds fabulous. I’ve heard great things about it. It’s fantasy, which is not something that I usually read (besides the works of Tolkien and Lewis), but reading Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s books made me a lot more open towards trying to read more fantasy.

A Sparrow in Terezin by Kristy Cambron: The Butterfly and the Violin, the first book, was such a beautiful story about World War II. One of my favorite types of formats for a book is multiple narrators and I loved how the first book weaved together stories from the past and the present in such a satisfying way. I definitely need to get on with reading the sequel.

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley: So apparently this was the Wall Street Journal’s Best Children’s Book of 2015. I picked an ARC copy of this book at the library (though it was after the release date) as a summer reading prize because a) it has a fabulous cover, b)it’s historical fiction, and c)I don’t know if I’ll ever grow out of MG. I can’t wait to read this one, especially since so many people have enjoyed it.

Have you read any of the books I mentioned? What 2015 releases did you not get to this year? What releases did you get to?

Let’s Talk About School: Part 1

For the most part, I love my school. Yes it can be stressful. Or, rather, it is stressful. All. The Time. But there are also moments like right now when I am rather relaxed and feel particularly accomplished. That’s because I just finished an assignment that took a ridiculous amount of time and probably used up just as ridiculous of an amount of my braincells, but I came away feeling like I actually learned a lot, which is an amazing feeling to have when it’s genuine.

In those moments, I can actually take a step back and look at school as something that has allowed me to develop my mind and learn and grow so much. My school has offered me a high level of education and has taught me how to manage my time and think critically through tough problems, among many other things. I don’t think I fully appreciate how much I learn through my classes until the next year when I’m in a class a step up and realize how much I know from the previous year that is helping me currently.

So let’s take this whole school discussion step-by-step through each subject. And because I have a lot to say about school, this will probably be a mini series.


Wait. I hear something. Oh, right, that’s just about everyone groaning. I’ll admit that I’m groaning a bit inside, too. And yet I still call myself a math person.

I’ve never really liked differentiating between the humanities and the sciences because I like both and I can’t possibly just give one up. So even though I call myself a math and science person, I also love reading and writing (obviously). And yet, it is easier for me to get higher grades in the humanities than in the sciences. In fact, I find math to be extremely difficult. I’ve always liked challenging myself and I want to take the highest levels I can in math. It gets more difficult with each passing year to get higher grades. Which means that every year I’m taking a class that’s way harder than the last and struggling.

Struggling, I’ve come to realize, is good. Struggling at something doesn’t mean you are necessarily bad at it. In many cases, it means that you are challenging yourself to your utmost ability and setting high standards for yourself. And what doing that does is lead to exponential growth in your abilities.

When I am wrestling with a difficult problem in math (and this happens a lot), it can be frustrating. I can work on a particularly difficult problem for a half hour or an hour. Or even longer. Sometimes it results in tears.

But you see, as long as I have the time I need to fully think out that problem by myself (with a few pointers from other resources as needed), the process of figuring out a tough problem is so valuable. You can learn so much from one problem and failing and failing and failing with your approach to that problem makes the solution so much more memorable. Besides, it feels amazing when I finally solve a problem. I end up feeling so accomplished and until I reach the next tough problem, I feel like I can achieve anything.

If it wasn’t for the way my parents raised me, I’m not sure that I would be very motivated when it comes to math. Whenever I feel like I’m a failure at math (pretty much all the time this year because math just got ten times harder), it is so tempting to throw up my hands and say that I’m just not good at math. And that I must not be a math person like I thought it was. Thankfully, my parents have raised me with the mindset that I should never limit myself by saying that I’m not a math person.

can be a math person-even if it doesn’t always feel like it.


In the next edition of this mini-series, I’ll discuss some other subjects, and possibly even more general things like tests (oh, the horror) and public school as a whole.

What do you think of math? Do you like how it’s taught at your school/home school? Any requests for other posts in this series?

Top Ten Tuesday: Resolutions for 2016


Edit: So I kind of forgot to link up with The Broke and the Bookish for this. That’s how long it’s been since I’ve done a TTT post.

It’s been so long since I’ve done a Top Ten Twelve Tuesday post. However, in my blog survey, LOTS of readers indicated that they would like to see more feature posts like this. I was definitely surprised by that, but here you go. The theme of this week’s list is perfect since I wanted to do a blog post about resolutions anyway.

Do one fun and relaxing thing every week. This is the most important goal on my list, as well as calling my grandma. Especially towards the end of the year, I grew so stressed out with all of the responsibilities and expectations I set for myself. This year it’s time for me to step back, relax, and make time for myself every week.

Read 100 books, 12 classics, and 12 books on my physical TBR. For two years I have failed to read 100 books. Let’s see if I can do that this year. I would like to read more than 12 classics and books on my physical TBR, but this is just the minimum.

Read the Bible from front to back. I have a confession to make. I have never read the whole entire Bible. This is the year for doing that.

Write and/or revise one draft of a book. One draft seems like a reasonable amount, given everything else I know is coming up this year for me.

Submit one piece of writing somewhere. I didn’t send in very many submissions of my writing this year, so I’d like to get back into that. We’re starting small.

Blog and comment consistently. Blogging and commenting was strong in the beginning of the year and then not so much. I hope to blog at least about once a week and reply back to comments more often. Maybe I’ll even send out an ARC request this year. Who knows?

Tidy my room. And keep it that way.

Finish my coding side project. I’m really excited about how my current project is going to come out and depending on how long it takes me to do this one, I’d like to start and maybe even finish another one. I also want to completely work through one of my coding books.

Call my grandma and grandpa every week. It can be easy to forget to call my grandma often when life gets busy. I don’t want to forget this year.

Practice my violin more often. This is an eternal struggle. But it’s important.

Attend an event focused around something I love, whether it’s a coding, writing or bookish event. I see recaps of these types of events on other blogs and they seem so fun! Hopefully this year I’ll get to attend one myself.

SATs. AP tests. College. Scholarships. ‘Nuff said.

What are some of your resolutions for this year? What have you learned about making better resolutions and actually keeping them? Is one of your goals to spend more “me” time? Are you sick of New Years’ posts yet? (Mine are done for now.)



Looking Forward and Looking Back

This post features run on sentences and haphazard punctuation and basically I think everyone should write like this once in a while. It is so freeing.

Every year, life throws new adventures at me, new ups and downs, new accomplishments and mistakes, new lessons to take with me through the following year. 2015 was no different. I was about to start off this post by saying that 2015 was a tough year, because it was. 2015 was maybe one of the toughest years I’ve ever had, especially recently. But then I started remembering all the good things that happened to me, and I thought I would start with some of those first to soften out the rough edges of my life this year.

2015 held so many little moments, pockets of joy that I hope to keep a better record of in this coming year. I remember waking up to pure white snow coating the world. I remember shivering in a tent in my yard and watching falling stars, patiently toasting marshmallows until they collapsed in a poof of sugar in my mouth, eating way too many of those marshmallows-11 one night!-because my dad forgot to tell me and my brother that we could only have six each.

I remember coming home from the beach with my hair still smelling of the sea and my skin tight from the salt and the rhythm of the waves still pounding through my body.I remember running, miles upon miles upon miles, during the summer. I don’t know how many miles I logged-300? 400?-but what I do know is how free I felt, going further and further down the same path each time and discovering new turns in the path, new trees, breathing the fresh air. I remember picking berries from vines and bushes and popping them in our mouths and not caring how many bugs had crawled over them because they tasted like sunshine.

I remember coming home from practice and sneaking to the library with my cousin and my brother. We would bike there fast, too fast. I could feel the wind warning me to slow down and the uneasy feeling my stomach got when I zoomed over bumps in the sidewalk, almost airborne, and how every corner felt dangerous, but I still rode fast. I remember finding cicada shells on trees and how we collected all of the ones we could see, even the ones high up in the trees. We shot them down with water guns and stood on wobbly chairs to get them and admire how there was once life in that shell, and here it was, recorded, every tiny detail. We left them on a table outside and they all blew away.

I remember books and books and books. I remember words, that I wrote and that I read and that I threw out and that I saved. I remember visiting my Grandma and Grandpa for Christmas-that was the best present I got-and spending hours just sitting and relaxing and not talking because one when you love someone so much, silence is enough. And I remember the laughs, too, with my family and friends and the feeling that everything would be okay.

But I also remember frustration. I remember tear stains dotting my homework because school felt like too much and I had so many things to do and everything was so hard and I was tired and all I wanted to do was go to sleep before midnight. I remember wishing I wasn’t so motivated because then maybe I wouldn’t care so much about getting B’s on things and I wouldn’t want to take the highest classes I could possibly take and then I wouldn’t be stressed. But I know my stubborn self will always hang onto that motivation. I remember falling asleep in less than five minutes on most nights because I was so exhausted.

I remember waking up to number filled papers scattered all over my desks and the panic that raced through me when I realized I had fallen asleep studying and I had to go to school in ten minutes. I remember my hands shaking as I took tests, trying to calm myself down so I could think clearly. I remember stalking grade averages nervously. I remember missing days of school because of different things and then being too afraid to ask for extensions even though other people around me asked for extensions with ease.I thought that would make me a lesser student somehow. I thought I wasn’t trying hard enough when I was. I still think that sometimes. On the days I would relax, where I wasn’t tired at the end of the day, I remember tossing and turning for hours. I wasn’t tired enough to fall asleep right away so I had time to worry and worry and worry.

I remember waking up and feeling a twinge of pain in my back after practice and brushing it aside. I told myself that it was just another one of those aches and pains that you get everyday from practice. That’s what happens when you run 3-11 miles everyday, right? Right? And then how the pain got worse but I kept running because I had spent my whole summer training so hard and it wasn’t fair that now something hurt when meets were coming up.

I wanted to break 20 minutes in a 5k so badly and I didn’t want to stop and watch my chances to do that this year slip away. And then I remember when it all got too much and one practice I was wondering what was wrong with me because I could barely run and I was falling behind. And yet I still ran-hobbled, really-for an hour and a half that day. I stupidly wanted to push through the pain so I could prove to myself that if I tried hard enough, I could just ignore it. Things don’t work that way. After that there were doctors appointments and MRIs and then the slips of paper, telling me I couldn’t run for weeks. It felt like the doctor was crushing my dreams. I wanted to break 20.

But then I remembered my faith and I told myself that God did this for a reason. Nothing happened and yet still I kept telling myself that. And then, something appeared and I applied on a whim. It was a long shot and I sent my hurried application off way too close to the deadline and knew in my gut that nothing would come of it. But something did and somehow I made it to the next stage and then the next stage. And with each stage I got closer to believing that God had plans for me when my back got injured. And then the opportunity of a lifetime strode into my life. It came with so many things. Stress, feeling like an impostor, wondering why I was chosen. But it also came with hopes and dreams and learning and  encouragement and affirmation that I am headed down the right path.

I am stressed, afraid, nervous, about 2016. But I am also so excited for it. I know it will be a year for learning and growing. It will be a year for new aha moments. My life is going to change so much this year because of the opportunities that flooded into my life in 2015. It’s going to be filled with accomplishments and mistakes and everything in between, but I know that it will also be filled with happiness because I am going to make it that way.

Happy New Year, everyone! And please remember this in 2016:

Everything happens for a reason. When one door closes, another door opens. It may not feel like it, but it’s true. Hang in there.


The Top 12 Best Books I Read in 2015 (& Also a Survey)

I read so many amazing books this year. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed almost all of the books I read this year. I tried to narrow this list down to ten, but I just couldn’t. So here are my top twelve books of the year. Of course they are in no particular order because I am impossible at making decisions.

Also, if you feel up to it, I would super duper appreciate you filling out the survey I have at the end of this post. I haven’t been up to par with blogging lately, but hopefully I’ll have more time to spend on this hobby of mine in 2016. Don’t be afraid to be honest because it’s all anonymous. I can’t wait to hear your feedback.

The Innovators by Walter Isaacson: Oh, this book was just amazing. It was a gift from my dad and I absolutely loved reading about the role of both the individual and the team in computing throughout the years. I also loved the focus on female engineers. Reading about women such as Grace Hopper and the ENIAC team was so inspiring.

Watership Down by Richard Adams: I actually found an old, old copy of this book at my Grandma’s house and it was falling apart as I read it. I loved how adventurous and rollicking this story was and I loved meeting all of the new characters. Who knew rabbits could have such complex backstories?

From Gates to Apps by Edward G. Amoroso and Matthew E. Amoroso: Now that I’ve read this book, it will be my first recommendation to anyone who wants to know exactly how a computer works. This book drills right down to how binary numbers and logic gates fit into computing and then climbs right up to how mobile applications work. I read this book relatively slowly to really make sure I understood everything, but it was written so clearly that the book made it easy to learn just how computers work.

Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo: This book made me fall in love with Kate DiCamillo’s stories all over again. All of the characters were so sweet and their adventures were so incredibly true to childhood. It was a touching story, and I loved the combination of drawings and prose.

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis: C. S. Lewis is  a master at allegorical writing. Not like I knew that from reading Narnia or anything, but reading The Screwtape Letters further enforced this. This book opened my eyes as I realized just how susceptible we humans are to temptation. It was scary but also inspiring at the same time.

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee: I was ready for this book to be a disappointment. Of course I was unbelievably excited for the sequel to my favorite book, but I was preparing myself for the hype to be too much. It was not. Go Set  a Watchman came pretty close to the quality of To Kill a Mockingbird. Even though very little actually happened in this book, the dialogue was intense and so thought provoking. It also accurately expressed what it feels like to grow up and feel the world change before your eyes. Just amazing. Harper Lee is a master. I don’t care how overkill it is; I want another book of hers to mysteriously surface this year.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: I love the detail in Anthony Doerr’s writing. He has a particular knack for noticing details that other people don’t notice. The characters in this book were wonderful as well. I felt a sort of sympathy for each one, whether they were evil or not, and Doerr perfectly illustrated how war tears lives apart.

Starflower by Anne Elisabeth Stengl: Both Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s writing and storytelling are stellar. With every passing book, the world of Goldstone Wood just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I read up to Book 5 in the series this year, but Starflower, Book 4, is my favorite in the series so far. Not only was this story heartbreaking and touching, but it also featured one of my favorite heroines. Starflower is one of the strongest girls I’ve read about this year, and I always admire that in a book.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen: Ever since I read Pride and Prejudice I’ve been interested in reading more of Jane Austen’s novels. Mansfield Park features a complex cast of characters and while that makes it difficult to keep track of all the names, it also makes for a much more interesting story. I also loved Fanny. She’s another strong heroine and has earned her place among my favorite characters.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck: This was school required reading, and I ended up really enjoying it. There was a haunting air of loneliness throughout the whole book and yet there was also the comfort of friendship in the midst of the loneliness. And that ending. *cries* Just go read this book, please. It’s super short, and super worth it.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: As I began to read this book I was pretty confused as to why everyone enjoyed it so much. Jane seemed whiny and irritating. However, as the story went on, I was completely drawn into the beautiful and haunting atmosphere of the book. The best part about this book was the ending. It would be spoilery to say much about it, but if you pick this story up for one thing, read it for the ending.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery: Well now I know what all the hype is about. I connected with this book in so many ways. The most beautiful thing about this book is that while it expresses all of the emotions that come with life and friendship and change, it also leaves room for the reader’s own life experiences to influence the meaning of the book. And that is of course the main thread that runs through the book. If you haven’t read this book yet, do yourself a favor and go read it now.


The link:

What are some of the best books you’ve read this year? Have you read any of my favorite books of the year? Oh, and if you filled out my survey, thank you so much! Have a happy New Year, you guys!


I knew December would swing right by and look at that, Christmas is officially two days from today.

I am weirdly unstressed right now. I have a million things that I have to do and they’re all on my mind and I have midterms and deadlines coming  up soon after Christmas break. I guess I’m just too excited about Christmas to be worried.

Right now I’m sitting in class because most public schools usually have school up until Christmas Eve. That’s okay though because this week tends to be pretty relaxed. We still have homework and tests and quizzes but we also have fun days like ugly sweater day and pajama day. I take full advantage of pajama day because it’s my only day of the year where my parents will let me walk out of the house on a school day with teddy bear print sweatpants, let along sweatpants in general.

It’s the also the week where some of my classes randomly decide that we want to have a holiday party in school so we all just bring in food to that class. I had one yesterday and then I had three today. I can’t even look at any kind of dessert right now without feeling sick, but I also can’t resist all the sweets that keep on being put in front of me.

I’m also feeling pretty happy right now because I am going to my Grandma’s house today. FINALLY. My favorite thing about Christmas is that I get a break off from school to spend time with my family and generally relax. Gifts are really exciting to open and I’m so grateful for the gifts I get. Weirdly enough, though, for the first time I’ve found myself not really wanting anything this year.

It’s really odd actually. Maybe it’s because a lot of good things have happened to me this year. Or maybe it’s that I’m just happy I get to see my Grandma. Or relieved to finally have a break from school (even though I still have to study for midterms, urgghhh but I refuse to take up time I could have with my Grandma studying for midterms so I’ll do that when I come back). I think it’s a mixture of all of those.

I only see my Grandma once a year since we live far apart so I get super excited to see her and my Grandpa at Christmas. It’s no secret in my family that among all of the many grandchildren my Grandma has, I am the most close with my Grandma. We’re going to knit together and take walks together and cook together and watch movies together and sit around and do nothing but relax together. I’m sooooo excited. The only bad thing is that I cry every time I have to leave no matter how hard I try not to. I feel like this is a trend that’s going to continue for a while now. But I’m still excited.

Well, that’s about all I have for now. Our family will be officially celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve since we always do that, but I already opened some awesome presents from my parents and brother yesterday. Merry Christmas to all of you! Now go spend time with your family, eat a bunch of candy canes, drink buckets of hot chocolate, listen to too many Christmas songs to count, read a book by the lights of your Christmas tree, and generally enjoy yourself this Christmas.

12 Days ‘Til Christmas and My Favorite Christmas Movies

So. I have decided that I will do a countdown to the 12 days of Christmas instead of doing 25 consecutive posts, mainly because school is majorly stressing me out right now. At least blogging is a stress reliever, right?

Also, look at that. If you read through my blog posts, we just jumped all the way from 25 days until Christmas to TWELVE days until Christmas. Isn’t that awesome? I sure think it is.

One of my family’s favorite Christmas traditions is watching all our favorite Christmas movies all over again. Without further ado, here are my top  five favorite Christmas movies. They are in no particular order except for the last one. I always save the best for last.

The Polar Express: I have wonderful memories of watching this in elementary school. As the winter break approached, our classes would hold a pajama day and we would all get popcorn and hot chocolate (with marshmallows!) while we watched this sweet film. When I was little I always loved movies or books where I could imagine I was going on the adventure, and I loved imagining what would happen if I traveled on a train to the North Pole. It is such a magical movie. If only we did that now in high school. We always had parties in elementary school but now I’m old and boring.

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas: Just like the Polar Express, this movie is a heartwarming story. You can never go wrong with Dr. Seuss. Pair that with Christmas and you’ve got yourself a winner. Everything is charming about this movie, from the cartoons to Whoville itself to the songs generously interspersed throughout the film. But maybe the best thing is that since I’ve seen this movie before, part of me always loves some of the evil Grinch at the beginning because I know that eventually he will come to realize the power of both kindness and Christmas. Oh, and by the way there will be no watching of the new version. It must be the classic one. Always. I’m sure the new one is fabulous but I do not tolerate anything but tradition during the Christmas season.

A Charlie Brown Christmas: Charlie Brown is actually the best. I challenge you to show me someone who does not love every single character in the Charlie Brown movies. Party poopers. (Just kidding. Kind of. Not really.) I love how in this movie Linus takes a moment to recognize the true meaning of Christmas in the midst of all the fun Charlie Brown shenanigans. Oh, and the Charlie Brown tree is iconic. We have one of those and it plays the theme song too.

Andre Rieu: Christmas Around the World: We watch Andre Rieu pretty much every Christmas. My grandparents and a close family friend of theirs and ours love Andre Rieu and I’ve grown to love it as well. Except when I was little I totally fell asleep everytime we watched one of those videos. They are so long! Pleasant, but lengthy. What I really love is how they not only play music but also pair it with fancy dresses and scenery and all around gorgeousness.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: My family watches this every Christmas and it is by far my favorite Christmas movie. It’s short but sweet. As jerky as the animation is, I love it for its old timey simplicity and the sweet undercurrent of acceptance among us all no matter our differences. Besides that, old timey Christmas songs are absolutely packed into this movie and those are the best. I have come to love all the characters in this film and Christmas really doesn’t start in our house until we’ve watched this. If you haven’t seen it yet, go do that now. This post is over anyways.

What are your favorite Christmas movies? Have you seen any of these? ARE YOU EXCITED THAT THERE ARE ONLY TWELVE DAYS LEFT UNTIL CHRISTMAS?!?