In the Bookcase


Book Review: Dead Wake

Dead Wake by Erik Larson (5 star review)

Dead Wake
The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

written by Erik Larson

430 pages // published in 2015 // non-fiction // maritime history

My Review...

5 Star Rating

I have waited a long time to get to read Dead Wake. (Well, a few months since it's publication anyways...)

And it is PERFECT.

Erik Larson has researched and collected together everything you need to know about the Lusitania in a single volume. It covers Captain Turner and his life, Kapitänleutnant Schwieger and how he destroyed the largest moving ship, and the government's angles on the whole affair as well. You can read about the passengers, the crew, the impact on Woodrow Wilson's presidency, and the big secrets the British Admiralty kept in Room 40.

"The ship seemed as indestructible as anything that could be imagined, even for an age that imagined well and placed so much trust in immensity and invention." (Erik Larson, Dead Wake)

"There were so many on the ship that it really was like living in a town, one saw fresh people every day & never knew who they were. (Gertrude Adams, Lusitania passenger)

The tragedy of the great sinking is striking, considering the amount of lives lost, and what it meant for World War I. It's a part of history we should read about it, contemplate, and share with others.

I was greatly impacted with Larson's writing about the Lusitania, and am now compelled to read more of his books.

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Walking the distance of a mini to-scale version of our solar system

7-mile solar system project

Starting With the Earth as a Marble, This Is the First Timelapse of the Solar System to Scale

article by Christopher Jobson

"When looking in a science textbook or a toy mobile of the solar system, it’s easy to depict the sun, planets and moon to scale in comparison to each other. What’s not so easy to visually comprehend the staggering distance that separates each planet on its individual orbit around the sun. Filmmakers Alex Gorosh and Wylie Overstreet challenged themselves to build such a model and the result is this fascinating short film To Scale.

Starting with the Earth as the size of a marble, it turns out you need an area about 7 miles (11.2km) to squeeze in the orbit of the outermost planet, Neptune. The team used glass spheres lit by LEDs and some GPS calculations to map out the solar system on the dry bed of the Black Rock Desert in Nevada...."

— Continue reading at

I'm so intrigued by the to-scale solar system project that this team put together. Who knew that if the Earth were the size of a marble, you would still need 7 miles to re-create the rest of the solar system? Check out the video at for the full experience!


How to live the Victorian lifestyle

Living a Victorian life

I love the Victorian era. So I decided to live in it.

article by Sarah A. Chrisman

My husband and I study history, specifically the late Victorian era of the 1880s and '90s. Our methods are quite different from those of academics. Everything in our daily life is connected to our period of study, from the technologies we use to the ways we interact with the world.

Five years ago we bought a house built in 1888 in Port Townsend, Washington State...."

— Continue reading at

Isn't it so refreshing (and mind-boggling) that this couple can really pull the Victorian lifestyle off? And they do it so authentically! This article is a must-read if antique oil lamps, iceboxes and cast-iron clawfoot bathtubs make your heart flutter.


Book Review: Mama Needs a Do-Over

Mama Needs a Do-Over by Lisa Pennington (5 star review)

Mama Needs a Do-Over

written by Lisa Pennington

208 pages // published in 2015 // non-fiction // Christian life

My Review...

5 Star Rating

Blogger and homeschool mom Lisa Pennington dishes on how a busy woman can wrangle her life back in order -- the easy way.

If you judge a book by its cover this one is obviously geared towards moms with kids at home, but I can tell you it's more than that. I'm a single young lady and still connected with all the chapter topics that this warrior-mother-of-9 shared. Maybe you feel like you're stuck in a rut, life feels mundane, or rather, life feels out of control. Any of these are sure signs that... It's time for a do-over. Lisa Pennington's book can help you make that change.

With simple-to-learn steps, participation by the reader (to make a do-over happen, you must participate in the change!), and some good old-fashioned Bible-reading, you'll soon be part-way through a life do-over before you know it. It's so simple when someone gives you the advice you've been needing about how to reset your life.

"Through my relationship with Christ and the gifts that He gave me, this mama got to have plenty of do-overs. And that's where we begin with this book. With fears and doubts and messes all around that we wonder if we can ever recover from. We'll meet in my kitchen for some hot tea and laughter." -Lisa Pennington

Chapter topics include: Knowing Yourself, What's Your Dream?, What Is Your Problem?, Make the Connection, The Plan, Making Changes, Joy, Practice, Motherhood, Breaking It Down, Wrapping It Up with a Bow.

Fellow Christian women will most benefit from this book. Through the entire do-over process, it's God that helps you through it and guides you in the direction right for you. Lisa tells you about how hardships in life have knocked her down -- and how she made the decision to CHOOSE JOY over having a day filled with bad-tempers. With each chapter, she has a true story to tell (even at her own expense), a laugh to share, and soon the moral of the story becomes clear. I enjoyed hearing all about her unique situations that include not only keeping tabs on her 9 children, but homeschooling them on a daily basis. It's a hard job, but she makes it work.

By sitting down to really think about Lisa's ideas for a do-over, and jotting down some ideas, I found my dreams again. I found a reason to be joyful again.

Change is good.

Thanks to the author and Netgalley for the free review copy.

P.S. Like and vote for this review on Goodreads and Amazon.


Book Review: What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do

What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do by Dr. David Jeremiah (5 star review)

What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do

written by David Jeremiah

368 pages // published in 2015 // non-fiction // Christian life

My Review...

5 Star Rating

After hearing much about the knowledgeable Dr. David Jeremiah, I was so pleased to finally get the chance to read one of his books. What did I find out? He is a knowledgeable man of God, with much wisdom to share to Christians.

'What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do' focuses on the book of James for the main scriptural readings. Chapters in this book include:

What to Do When the Heat's Turned Up
What to Do When Wrong Seems Right
What to Do When the Mirror Doesn't Lie
What to Do When Justice Isn't Blind
What to Do When Faith Doesn't Work
What to Do When Your Tongue Isn't Tied
What to Do When Wisdom Is Foolish
What to Do When Worship Turns to War
What to Do When Your Goals Aren't God's
What to Do When Your Net Worth Is Worthless
What to Do When You're in a Hurry and God Isn't
What to Do When Pain Leads to Prayer

Although each topic might not hit home for you, there's still so much to learn from. I soaked in excellent points and Biblical references from each chapter, even if I don't experience the exact issue at hand. I'm sure my notes from each topic will help at a later point in my life. For example...

This is the kind of book where if you were to read it 5 different times in your life, you would glean new information each time. Just because something didn't apply to you the first time you read it, it will likely mean more later on, and vice versa.

Along the way, I also learned much that I didn't know before about James. I had either forgotten (or maybe didn't even know) that James was one of Joseph and Mary's sons. How could I not remember that Jesus' earthly brother contributed his writings as one of the books of the Bible? It was amazing to me to be able to see what kind of man James was in his special situation, as I was guided step-by-step through his writings -- with new eyes this time, thanks to the author.

"According to James, faith is made perfect by works." (Chapter 5, What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do)

All of David Jeremiah's points, arguments, and actionable steps are backed by scriptures. Additionally, he often quotes from fellow religious leaders of our time and preachers from days of old. He's well-rounded in the knowledge he dispenses to the reader.

Included in the back of the book, you'll also find additional material and questions to use either in personal or group study. A remarkable resource to utilize while reading the book.

Thanks to the author and Netgalley for the free review copy.

P.S. Like and vote for this review on Goodreads and Amazon.