In the Bookcase


Favorite Finds #44

Here we are at the last Friday of the year. The last of the Favorite Finds that I'll be sharing with you in 2013. Who knows what delights I'll be sharing in 2014?! So then, take a look through some of these pages if you like. They're just a few things I happened to enjoy myself.

To start out the list... a couple more reading challenges I plan to take on...

Lucy Maud Montgomery Reading Challenge

{Reading to Know}

I'm excited to again partake in Carrie's January challenge! I plan to read the book I won from her blog last year (yay!), Akin to Anne, and also join her in reading The Blue Castle (which I downloaded online for free). Come join us if you're interested in reading any of LMM's writings for this next month!

Read Scotland 2014

{Peggy Ann's Post}

When I was invited to take part in a Scottish reading challenge, I couldn't resist! I'm joining at the "The Highlander" level, hoping to read 8 books by Scottish authors this year, including: The Sign of Four and The Hound of Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Duncan's War by Douglas Bond, The Golden Key and The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald, The Young Fur Traders by R. M. Ballantyne, The Far Side of the Loch by Melissa Wiley, & The Keys of the Kingdom by A. J. Cronin. A good selection of literature by Scots, if I do say so myself.

I Scarce Can Take It In

{Inspiring Daring}

In Rachelle's words: "....Christmas isn't over, you know. The day has dawned and gone, but that Baby, that Man, that Savior, He lives. And He loves...."

5 Things Photography Has Taught Me about Creativity

{HOW Design}

My sentiments exactly! Photography has opened my brain into other angles of creative thinking that I wouldn't have achieved otherwise.

A few photographs of a festive hedgehog

{Sword of Ink}

Hedgehogs are just soo cute. But this one takes the cake!


Blog Tour: Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl

About the Book:
Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl: Traveling with her parents brings Lydia, daughter of explorer and singer Buddy Davis, plenty of adventure and mystery - from hidden clues in bookstores to cave paintings deep underground.

About the Author:
Whether she’s building life-sized models of dinosaurs with her adopted family, trying her hand at cooking at a private retreat, or living in a barn, author Aidyl Ewoh (aka Lydia Howe) seems to have adventures follow her wherever she goes. Check out her book, Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl and find out more about her at her Blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

And now, enjoy this guest post from author Lydia Howe! .....

Answer to the True or False question from the last stop: True! 
This was one way she inspired me to love reading and it worked! 

My Favorite Characters (by Lydia Howe)

Ok, in reality, I’m not even sure why I picked this topic to write about. My favorite characters? Um, they’re all my favorite! Well, not really, but I’ve already done a character interview on Lydia Davis and CJ Carter, so who’s left?

Really though, that’s not a fair question. Buddy and Kay Davis and Jim and Melissa Carter are the two obvious answers. They’re the parents of the aforementioned characters. Then CJ’s siblings, Isaac and Annie are up at the top of the list too. (Although my sister’s declare that Annie is annoying and a sissy. I disagree with the annoying part, although sissy might be spot-on.) Grandpa Phillip, Miss Copper and Stan, the cave guide, are the other three often-mentioned characters in Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl.

Here is something I like about each of those characters:

Lydia Davis: She’s based off of me, folks. Need I say more? I mean, dare I say more? Ok, she’s not me though, so I can say anything about her that I want to. She’s a writer, she travels with her parents, and she enjoys selling books at their book tables. Yep, those things together equal pret-ty cool.

CJ Carter: He’s funny because he’s a genius and uses huge words and doesn’t get why everyone looks at him with blank stares, trying to figure out what he’s meaning. And of course having a smart kid on the team to help figure out stuff is always a plus.

Buddy Davis: What can I say? He’s based off of the real Buddy Davis, my adopted Dad. And since I adore my adopted dad, of course I adore his character, too. He’s adventuresome, fun, friendly, a wonderful example and full of courage.

Kay Davis: Again, what can I say? Based off the real Kay Davis, my adopted mom, this character is amazing, just like the real person. Who can help but love her? When she figures out the final element in the mystery in the book, it’s kinda a reflection on how she is outside the book. Always there to lend a hand and offer encouragement. And of course reading. Who wouldn’t like a mom (real or in a book) that likes to read?

Jim Carter: My sisters don’t have a very good opinion of Uncle Jim, but I think he’s great! I guess that’s maybe the loyalty of the author in me though? Yes, he might ask a few questions that have obvious answers, but someone had to ask them! Jim is an adventuresome guy who has a real talent with making people feel included.

Melissa Carter: She’s so sweet. She’s not mentioned too often in the book, but when she is, I just want to go up and give her a hug. She’s one of those adult characters I always liked reading about when I was a kid.

Isaac: Hungry for adventure. Ready for action. Isaac isn’t in the book much, but he certainly adds an element and point of view that helps the series along.

Annie: Annie. Ok, so everyone can’t be loved by everyone, right? I think Annie’s great, although a little too girly for some people’s tastes (although that might not come out too much in this book, since she’s not in it very much). Really though, not all girls like spiders, attics and adventures.... Right?

Grandpa Phillip: Grandparents in books... Either their old in grouchy or loved by all. Of course I chose the second characteristic for my wonderful grandpa figure. Who doesn’t love to go and talk to someone who’s willing to listen? Plus he’s pretty smart.

Miss Copper: She owns a bookstore. Need I say more? Ok, and she’s also fun and pays attention when you talk to her.

Stan: Stan the cave guide. He’s knowledgable yet not stuffy. And I like caves a lot, so of course I like guides who work in them.

So, which of those characters are your favorite?

For your chance to get a free book and Wal-Mart gift card, check out THIS post! To find out the answer to today's True or False question and read a post where someone interviews me, check out THIS blog tomorrow.


Book Review: The Boys in the Boat

The Boys in the Boat
The Boys in the Boat

written by Daniel James Brown

416 pages, published in 2013
adult non-fiction

3 Star Rating 3 Star Rating 3 Star Rating 3 Star Rating

"The Boys in the Boat" is the telling of a true story about 9 American boys, rowing against the odds to compete for gold at the Olympics in 1936.

Not just any Olympics either, but Hitler's.

This story amazes me on so many levels. The author follows the story of Joe Rantz (one of the 9 boys) closely. Rantz's life unfolds, starting with a childhood chopped short because of family predicaments. He had to strive solo past many of life's struggles at a young age, all the way into college, where he finally found his passion waiting for him. Many times in history it's usually the people with a tough past who will perform the hardest and work for all their worth, because they have nothing to lose, and so, they become someone greater than they thought they could be. This is the inspiring note I have taken from Joe Rantz's life.

These Washington state boys worked their hardest for years, to turn into an Olympic-worthy crew. Through frigid weather, icy rain, the rawest of emotions, and unyielding physical pain, they suffered through it all as one team for victory. They paddled for the crowning moment of any athlete's dream: competing for Olympic gold. I found myself so engrossed in every chapter, hungry for the strategy of the next race, or the next level in their grueling, back-breaking work, or the fine details of the graceful, timeless art of rowing.

"In a sport like this--hard work, not much glory, but still popular in every century--well, there must be some beauty which ordinary men can't see, but extraordinary men do."
— George Yeoman Pocock (found in the prologue)

In the midst of this epic journey across the water, you also learn about an important, yet hidden away, part of the world's past. Swastikas flashed across Germany, Nazis began their marches, Jews (and other races of people that Hitler didn't deem as superior) were being discriminated against, and Adolf Hitler was pulling off one of the biggest covert missions in history. When the entire world visited Germany in 1936 for the Olympics, Hitler toned down his act just enough, so that when the Games were over and everyone went home, the world still remained largely unaware of his horrific deeds. Most did not know that war loomed in the near future. This book capitalized on explaining this thoroughly, and described so vividly how Germany appeared splendid in the eyes of the Americans, with its taunting displays of grandeur.

"The Boys in the Boat" is purely non-fiction, with boundless details of actual events, and thick with chronicled facts. I loved it. However, I imagine that for many readers out there, this may not be the most entertaining read. The book delves into several mini-biographies, and you must keep your head on straight to remember which story belongs to which person. When you put it all together, this book really is amazing.


Favorite Finds #43

Dear Readers,
I have a few exciting tidbits of news to be sharing about this week! So, I thought I'd just stuff all of it into a Favorite Finds post, and you can take a look at the things that interest you. Let's begin!

Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl
Blog Tour Kick-Off


I'm thrilled to be a part of Miss Lydia Howe's blog tour for her new book! (more on this later in December!) For now, start at the beginning of the blog tour and read through all the tour posts so far.

Eugene Onegin Read-Along


This is a read-along challenge that I'm excited to join, which starts in January. This will be my first piece of Russian literature to read. (Obviously, it won't be in the Russian language, but a translation to English!) ... and it will be my first novel to read that actually is written in poetry. Excited? Yes.

Giveaway: Organic Christmas Gift Set

{Pixel Berry Pie Designs}

This is a giveaway I'm hosting for the lovely Miss Melinda, over at Melinda Blogs. Win a Christmas prize pack from The Healthy Farm Girl, including: Vanilla Spice Sugar Scrub, Tropical Dream Hair Gel, Sugar and Spice Lotion Bar, & Gingerbread Spice Rooibos Tea Mix.

Giveaway: $25 CarolesArt Gift Certificate

{Pixel Berry Pie Designs}

Another of my current giveaways. Win $25 to CarolesArt on Etsy for rare stones and jewelry! One-of-a-kind treasures and pendants are available for purchase, perfect for Christmas gifts.

A Backyard Library

{Design Milk}

Lastly, here's something that all of us bookworms wish we had. A library in our backyard. For all those books that don't quite fit on our home's shelf.


Sharing Our Bookshelves {December 2013}

The December edition of Sharing Our Bookshelves is open.
Come share about what you're reading!

What is on your Christmas reading list?
The linky is open all month long!

Sharing Our Bookshelves @ In the Bookcase
{Click here for the button code.}