What Nikita Read This Month: January 2013

Hello Readers, this is one of the co-founders of “Three Bookish Girls” we have been hiatus for a while. Reasons or excuses it does not matter. I was hoping to bring this back up especially now since I am not even living near the other two co-founders. This is a way to not only give you the readers a chance to get some great read material for your life, but for Em, Camille, and I to see what each other is reading maybe find a way to make this book club in the ideas and core of the initial making of the club.

One thing I am hoping I can do almost every month is write a blog posting of all the books I have read and give a little brief summary of my thoughts of each book. So, without further excuses…..

This month I made a point to make a more realistic goal for 2013 and that decision was to read twenty-five books this year. I know that is such as small number, yet I think I work better with low numbers and over-exceed the number. Have you ever made a too high goal and then you over-stress about it? That would be me.

The fruits of this idea have been in my favor so far. I have read nine books in between all the moving, unpacking, cleaning, date nights, and cooking. I am quite proud of myself too. A few took me longer than the others, but all the same I averaged a book a day.

Genre: Historical Romance

Genre: Historical Romance

Most readers would say, “You read Romance novel?” I sadly can say I do, but I am quite picky (about as picky as I am about food). I would like to thank my aunt who got me involve in reading romance novels, but it also my aunt who helped me find the right kind romance novels.

What do I mean by that? Simply put, there are those romance novels which is nothing but porn in written word to which I cannot stand and then there are actually stories that have a plot, character development, and yes, sex. But those stories do not go heavily on sex. There are few authors who do this, where you can skip sex scenes and you still have a story.

One of those authors is none other than Julia Quinn. Mrs. Quinn was my first romance author that I read; instantly I fell in love with her way of writing dialogue. Not only dialogue but also her ability to write that amazing time period to a modern audience without it becoming more of a modern tale and not a historical story. Her characters are not those copy and paste stereotypical, but each have similarities to the other, but unique in their own way of handling different situations.  

Alright, I need to stop raving about this wonderful author and actually talk about the book. The Lady Most Willing is Julia Quinn’s second installment of “a novel in three parts”. What is that? Well in brief instead of three authors writing individual stories based on a common theme these three novelist wrote one plot, but put their own twists with the characters they chose to write about. I find it fun because one I have never seen a book done that way so well (unless it is a biography or non-fiction book), but two you can never truly tell who wrote what.

The Lady Most Willing is about a Scottish Lord who has no male heirs and his two nephews are being pain in the butts about getting married and having children so he takes it into his own hands. How? By going to a neighboring castle to which he knew that there will be a ball with good quality ladies there (for his nephews to pick) and kidnap them. Of course the Lord kidnaps a few ladies, but the twist comes when he grabs three ladies (the three he wanted) then one Scottish lass by accident who has no connection; then to top it off: a very angry duke who was kidnapped just because he fell asleep in his coach and the Scottish Lord stole it. Oh did I mention they are snowed in, the Scottish Lord is either lucky or very smart!

This book is funny and witty, especially in the dialogue. It took me just eight hours altogether to read the book, probably less if I had not stopped. I think many people would turn away from this book because it is a Historical Romance, but I tell you it is a good book that if you take the sex (the actually sex scenes, think there is two MAYBE) you still got a story.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Genre: Historical Non-Fiction

Genre: Historical Non-Fiction

My husband bought me this book; he knows how much I love history. But, the other reason he bought it was he knew I have been looking for information about four forgotten graves that are in the Alexandria National Cemetery in Alexandria, Virginia.

Who is buried in those four graves? Who would care? Let me answer the first question by saying these four graves are the four men who lose their lives chasing John Wilkes Booth and his companion, David Harold. They are forgotten in history books and story-tellers of the chase. It was by chance reading the plaque that I had learned about the four men. I have since December 2008 researching to figure out: how they died, why are they not know, who they were. Loads of questions and no answers. This book was my hope to shred light on them.

Alas, after the small book no details of their death were made or even mentioned. Though I found no evidence of their deaths the book was in fact very interesting. It brings to life the plot (both the failed attempt JWB did before he thought of assassinate Lincoln), the shot, the chase, but also brings to life the other almost assassinations that night and the heroic actions that took place.

Finally thought on the book was it takes away much of the lore of Lincoln’s assassination and JWB. I would like to read the actual non-fiction book this book was just a summary for. Maybe I will find what I was looking for.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Genre: Fiction

Genre: Fiction

I try not to dislike reading a book, but this one book was not my best choice in reading. The Pub Across The Pond by Mary Carter was bought while I was at the Dublin Irish Festival (Dublin, Ohio). I met the author and my copy is an autographed copy.

The plot was interesting, a woman buys a raffle to win a pub in Ireland while she was attending the Dublin Irish Festival in Ohio. She has bad luck and knew she would not win, but her luck has changed for now she is the owner of the Pub. The Pub was made into a raffle because the owner (former owner’s eldest son) decided to gamble his pub in a hand of cards with his uncle. Her story of how she learns to deal with the community not wanting her to own the pub and her feelings about the former owner’s son.

Like I mentioned while the plot was interesting it (the book) did not in my opinion hold up to the plot. One of the big factors was the lack of character development  I felt some of the characters and their parts in the story were either too rushed, too much, or not enough. It was like a cut of the character when the character was finally developing.

Finally, while the description was okay I never felt I was sucked into Ireland or even in the scenes.

Rating: 3 out 5

Genre: Religion

Genre: Religion

This book was part of my ongoing studies with St. Catherine of Siena Dominican Laity Chapter. I was never able to read it all, for reasons that are stupid now. So this month I made a promise to finish this book.

One thing most who I know and who read Scott Hahn’s books he really focuses much of his work on explaining God’s Covenant. One thing that does cause is sometimes he repeats himself from one book to the next. Which is fine when you are making a point. But, sometimes I feel I have read it before from another book Hahn wrote.

While this book was really great in helping me understand how the New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. I do think he kept going into circles (that is what my husband calls it).

I would still recommend this book, especially to understand God’s Covenant with His people and how God has never broke his Covenant.

Rating: 4 out 5

Genre: Fiction

Genre: Fiction

Back in High School I read To Kill a Mocking by Harper Lee and fell in love with the book. For those who have not read this book, please read this one!

The story revolves around a little girl growing up in a small town in the South during the Great Depression. Harper Lee has the ability to write a story and you can jump into that small town. The story of the innocence of Scout and the outlook of her journeys are amazing.

Of course I must say who cannot love her dad, Atticus. There are days when I was a teenager and going through the trials of pulling away from my own daddy that I wanted Atticus as my dad. But, I can say I can see Atticus in my dad.

One of the most important thing about this book is Harper Lee exposes the prejudice and racism of the south. The mindset of that time period and how injustice could be made so easily. And it all is shown through the eyes of a little girl.

If you, the readers do not mind I would like quote my favorite quote from the whole book:

People in their right minds never take pride in their talents.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Genre: Fiction

Genre: Fiction

In 2006 I was able to watch Hayao Miyazaki’s version of “Howl’s Moving Castle”. After watching the film I commented many times to those who wanted to watch a great animated film to watch that one for the story-line was so amazing, but the characters were GREAT! It was a few years later that I saw the novel and instantly I had to have it. I read it the day I got it and could never put it down. I could see that world that Miyazaki put in drawings.

This month I decided to re-read the book since it has been so long. Howl’s Moving Castle is a story about a young woman, Sophie who described as plain and boring, but wants to do something in her life, but because she is the eldest and like a pushover she is always placed into a corner.

As the story goes on Sophie meets with the Witch of the Waste and turns Sophie into a ninety-year old woman. Sophie leaves her home to find how to break the curse placed on her. While on her journey she come to the Moving Castle which is the famous wizard Howl’s.

I really do not want to ruin any of the plots, but I highly recommend this imaginative novel for any age and when you finish go watch Miyazaki’s “Howl’s Moving Castle”. You won’t regret it!

Rating: 5 out 5

Genre: Teen Fiction

Genre: Teen Fiction

When I told my little sister that I loved the book Running Out of Time when I was in elementary School she would hand me a book titled, Turnabout by the same author. And autographed too!

This book was one of those books that reminds me of why I was so much against cloning. Story is about a woman who is part of an experiment that would make you young. Sounds fine right? No, instead of stopping at a certain age she will keep getting younger until what, not even she knows. What is worst is every year she turns a year younger, she loses memories of her “old” life.

Now she and one other woman who turn the same serum must find a way to keep themselves out of the lab, but who will take care of them when they are wearing diapers.

One of my favorite things about this book is the woman’s memory books, which she wrote when she learned that she would be losing memories of her “old” life every year she turned back.

I cried most through it, because so many people if they could would become a part of something like this, but never think about what the cost is for them.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Genre: Fiction

Genre: Fiction

In 2011 Brian Jacques passed away. When I had learned about this, I remember the book he wrote back in the nineties titled, Martin the Warrior. I decided to hunt down that book and re-read it.

Martin the Warrior is about a young warrior mouse who is captured and placed into Slavery. Rose, mousemaid is looking for her brother when she and her companion, Grumm meet Martin who had been punished for defy authority. Their journey to save all those enslaved by the Tryant and how Martin becomes who is Martin, the Warrior.

The book took me much longer than I had expected. I do believe the reason it took so long was the dialogue. Jacques has a brilliant way of capturing the dialects, but it can take time to read. I had to read over most of the dialogue, especially Grumm, the Mole and the Searats. Jacques was capturing the way they spoke not what they were saying in a way.

Just to mention this book is part of Jacques’ series Redwall. This is actually the last book of the series. Some would think I would have went in order. But, I think this book in all honestly will help me when I read the other Redwall books to understand more of why Martin does what he does.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Genre: Religion

Genre: Religion

Finally, the last book has to be one of the favorite new books I have read. Style, Sex, & Substance in as the cover says, “10 Catholic Women Consider the Things that Really Matter”. My husband bought me this book while we went for the first time to the Catholic Bookstore in Charleston. Women like: Hallie Lord, Jennifer Fulwiler, Anna Mitchell, Simcha Fisher, Elizabeth Duffy are some of my favorite Catholic writers/bloggers. To read such work done by them in a book I could not pass it up.

Each chapter deals with something that most women go through, but the trick is how do we as, Catholic women handle it. I found a lot of their advice really helpful especially now that I am married. In these next few lines I would like to quotes these lovely ladies. I think I have favorite quotes in every chapter even well almost:

Jennifer Fulwiler

This is what I learned: To uncover your unique brand of holiness, you have to sift your God-given quirks and talents from your sins

Hallie Lord

But this much I know: We women have to got to find a way to be merciful toward ourselves without completely throwing in the towel; to surrender to the hard times while still fighting for our ideals; and to remain open to God’s grace while accepting that sometimes that grace isn’t going to look and feel how we might hope. 

Karen Edmisten

We’re proudly pope-loving, sterilization-eschewing, Eucharist-adoring, confession-going, twenty-first-century Catholic specimens of femininity who buck societal norms and balk at contemporary expectations. Yeah, we’re the face of the new rebellion.

Rebecca Ryskind Teti

In stressing the spiritual maternity of all women, the Church is neither imposing physical motherhood on anyone nor forbidding women to have careers. It’s simply standing up for women against those who would force them to be just like men (by devaluing motherhood) and those who would reduce them to baby machines (by valuing only physical maternity).

Rachel Balducci

Good friends build each other; they don’t bring each other down.

Danielle Bean

I’d like to say I have always handled the tough times as a model of maturity, leaning hard on the graces God gives us in the sacrament of marriage. But, I’d also like to not be a liar. 

Barbara R. Nicolosi

Our challenge is to baptize the goods of technology the way Christians through the ages have always entered into culture; finding what is good or neutral there and utilizing it for evangelization.

Well that is all that I have for this month, I am reading a book right now but I know that I will not have finished until the month of February.

Happy Reading

 

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