In the Bookcase


Book Review: Akin to Anne

Akin to Anne
Akin to Anne
Tales of Other Orphans

written by L.M. Montgomery

202 pages, fiction
originally published in 1900-1933

4 Star Rating 4 Star Rating 4 Star Rating 4 Star Rating

In this delightful collection of short stories, you'll certainly find some treasures. This was my first time to read some of L.M. Montgomery's short stories, and I truly enjoyed them.

The particular selection in "Akin to Anne" is put together by Rea Wilmshurst. She located many of Montgomery's short tales that regard other orphans (just like our dear Anne Shirley), from newspaper and magazine publications. All were originally published by Lucy Maud Montgomery between 1900 and 1933.

All the tales included in "Akin to Anne" make for some charming literature to read, that both young readers and adults can cherish alike. The girls and boys featured in these stories learn important life lessons or find the meaning of a true family, whether blood-related or not. When reading these stories, one after another, the plots do seem to mimic each other a bit, but there are surprises thrown in now and then. All in all, it's a charming set of short stories!

A glimpse at my three favorites...

Charlotte's Ladies: Little Charlotte is stuck in an orphan asylum. "No one will ever want to adopt me, because I've mousy hair and freckles." (Or, at least, she thinks so.) Her only consolation is that she just discovered some loose boards in the asylum's fence -- just big enough to look out through and see what is in the outside world. With new friendships and a Very Handsome Cat to keep her company sometimes, she inevitably becomes part of a new life on the other side of the fence.

Her Own People: Constance Foster is a quiet, young schoolteacher, alone in the world, with no family, friends, and not even any special plans for the summer holidays. A fellow teacher, Miss Channing, takes pity on the situation, and makes her own suggestion. -- The reason I enjoyed this story is because of the emotional change that takes place in Miss Foster's heart. By the end of the tale, she has some beautiful words to share.

Freda's Adopted Grave: "It was one of the unwritten laws of the little community that on some selected day in May everybody would repair to the graveyard to plant, trim and clip." In the time leading up to Graveyard Day, all the girls chatter on about the types of flowers they get to use for their families' graves -- except for one girl, Freda. She is a bit sensitive on the subject, knowing that she doesn't have a grave to decorate. Her thoughtful personality shines forth, though, as she sets out to do a unique act of kindness.

L. M. Montgomery Reading Challenge


Book Review: The Blue Castle

The Blue Castle
The Blue Castle

written by L.M. Montgomery

218 pages, originally published in 1926
adult fiction

5 Star Rating 5 Star Rating 5 Star Rating 5 Star Rating 5 Star Rating

Valancy Stirling has lived a rather quiet life for almost 29 years. She has no exceptionally wonderful childhood memories, as others might. Her adult life didn't carry much happiness for her either. Just the day-in and day-out motions of living with her mother and cousin. Of course, the glaring fact exists that she's becoming an old maid and no young man has taken an interest to her.

"As far as she could look back, life was drab and colourless, with not one single crimson or purple spot anywhere. As far as she could look forward it seemed certain to be just the same until she was nothing but a solitary, little withered leaf clinging to a wintry bough." (Chapter I)
"The Blue Castle" is the story of one young woman's breaking-out-of-a-shell moment. Far too long she had been pushed around, following commands kindly and precisely as requested, and continuously living without actually living.

The day of fateful decision lands on her 29th birthday. The day she finally decides to do something for herself, even if it does spring the first wedge she's ever had between herself and another person. As Valancy's daring acts increase, the relatives grow progressively surprised -- although deportment must always be sustained, even when disgraced and shocked by the words and actions of a young woman going "dippy". (This was my favorite part of the book, and I had many laughs over the dismayed reactions, and also at how steady that Valancy maintained her performances.)

"'Let us be calm,' said Uncle Benjamin. 'Let us be perfectly calm.'"(Chapter XV)
Suffice it to say, Valancy does not "be perfectly calm" and continues in her newly found freedom from the gripping drabness that she had always simply existed in... My, what great things she accomplishes too!

This is such a fun, sweet piece of literature to read. I sped through the book so fast, because I just couldn't stop reading. L. M. Montgomery spoke so vividly to me through "The Blue Castle". It's a new favorite of mine, and I'll definitely have to read it again someday!

L. M. Montgomery Reading Challenge


Top 10 favorite books of 2013!

At the end of each year, the bookworm inside of me loves to look over all the beautiful books I finished that year, and write out my top 10 favorites. And then I share it with you.

In no particular order, my favorite reads of 2013:

Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot {my review}

The Story Girl by L.M. Montgomery {my review}

The Discovery of the Titanic by Robert D. Ballard {my review}

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis {my review}

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome {my review}

Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters {my review}

Start Here by Alex & Brett Harris {my review}

Bleak House by Charles Dickens {my review}

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown {my review}

Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke {my review}

Truly, I had read toooo many good books past this year! It made very hard decisions for me, on which went into my official top 10 list. So, there are just a few more titles that deserve, at the least... honorable mentions:

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley {my review}

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame {my review}

Unsinkable: The Full Story of the RMS Titanic by Daniel Allen Butler {my review}

The Birds' Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggin {my review}

Now, to guide you on to some other lovely bloggers who also shared their own 2013 favorite book lists: Hannah, Grace, Katie, Carrie


15 FREE Beth Moore books available on Kindle!

Have you heard of the author Beth Moore?
She is the writer of many Christian devotionals and Bible studies.

I've personally never read her books (yet!), but I came across such a wonderful online deal that I had to share! Many of her books are available for FREE right now, on Amazon Kindle. "Buy" these e-books now while they're free and enjoy them whenever you like. Some of these were just published in 2013!

* Note: You actually do not need a Kindle to read these e-books. Other devices such as tablets, smartphones AND computers have apps from the Amazon store, so that you can read your e-books on any device.

Take a look at all these Beth Moore books, which are currently free to download!
(Make sure to check price before purchasing, as prices can change at anytime.)

To Live Is Christ

Further Still

Things Pondered

Breaking Free

Breaking Free Day by Day

Breaking Free: Discover the Victory of Total Surrender

Praying God's Word Day by Day

A Heart Like His: Intimate Reflections on the Life of David

Believing God

Believing God Day by Day: Growing Your Faith All Year Long

Feathers from My Nest

The Beloved Disciple

Jesus, the One and Only

Praying God's Word: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds

When Godly People Do Ungodly Things


Sharing Our Bookshelves {January 2014}

"If you want to be happy, be."
—Leo Tolstoy

Happy 2014, my fellow readers!
Is the new year brimming with wonderful book lists for you? (It is for me!) All those epic reads, just waiting to be cherished this year...

December went by quickly, but I finished some great books before the year was out.
Here's my monthly list of new favorites:

The Birds' Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggins
{my review}

Stories of Faith for Christmas by Guideposts
{my review}

Craft Business Power by Jason & Cinnamon Miles
{my review}

Nick of Time by Ted Bell
{my review}

Bleak House by Charles Dickens
* Finally finished it! {my review}

Oh, keep a watch out for my next post... which includes my super-duper-tip-top favorites of everything I had read in 2013! (If you're doing a similar post, you are welcome to link it up below too.)

The linky is open all month long!
Do you have any bookish posts on your blog?

Sharing Our Bookshelves @ In the Bookcase
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