Merry Christmas!

 

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas to all my wonderful readers! I am so thankful to you for reading my blog, supporting me, and being patient with me. Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my reviews and other ramblings. I’m going to be spending the next few days with my family, so I will not be posting anything new until after Christmas. I promise I’ll be back next week because I have a few more reviews to post before the new year. Have a wonderful Christmas!
 
Love,
 Monica

Wonder Showdown: Book vs Movie

Wonder Showdown: Book vs Movie

 
Way back in 2013 when I read the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio, I said that I hoped there would NEVER be a movie made from this book. Why? Because there is NO way. EVER. to capture the feelings, attitudes, and emotions from this book. No way. There is no way that a movie could ever live up to my expectations for this book. And part of what made it so good was that your mental picture of what Auggie looked like was so important. If the character’s face on the movie screen didn’t live up to what you saw mentally, would it be as good?
 
Well, here we are now in 2017, and they did make a movie. Tough choice! Do I go or do I not go? My husband actually made the choice for me by purchasing tickets. So I went. Begrudgingly, I may add. Or, maybe hesitantly. So, you may ask, “What was the verdict?” Surprisingly, I actually really enjoyed the film! Keep in mind that I read the book over four years ago now, so it’s been long enough for me to forget all the little details, but I think they did a great job of capturing the feeling and emotion of the book. Does it have all those little details? No, it doesn’t, but I did not leave feeling let down or disappointed. I left feeling inspired and uplifted. I feel like they captured the most memorable moments in the book that I remember, and that overall they did a very good job. Was it perfect? No, and if you read the book yesterday you may have a very different opinion, but overall, I was impressed! The acting was really good; I was skeptical about Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson together, but I think they did well together. And Jacob Tremblay, who played Auggie, did an excellent job! Was it as good as the book? Nope, it wasn’t, but it was well done, and I would recommend it. It’s inspirational, and it has the morals, lessons, and attitudes that made the book so good. We definitely need more media like this! 
 

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your opinions of the movie and the book! Please comment below!

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
First Place!!!!
Wonder movie poster
Second Place

15 Books I’m Thankful For

At this time of year it’s important to think about the things we’re thankful for, right?
The typical list usually includes family, friends, health, a home, etc. Well, today I’m stepping
out of that box! There are many books that have influenced my life in different ways, and today
I’m giving you 15 of the non-religious books that I’m thankful for. (I could do another whole post
on religious books…that’s a post for another day.) 
(All the credit for the book photos in this post goes to goodreads.com)
1
When I was probably too young to be reading chapter books, I begged and begged my mom to let me read them. She gave in, thankfully, and that is where my love of reading began. The Beezus and Ramona books were some of those very first chapter books I read. I loved them, and read them over and over again. I’m thankful for this book because it’s books like these that capture the young mind and get children, like me, hooked on reading. 

2. 
The Little House On the Prairie books were also books that I read again and again as a young child. Thankfully, I live in this day and age with grocery stores, furnaces, cars, and hospitals. I would not have lasted long as a pioneer or as a settler out in the middle of the prairie. Reading these books allowed me to live that life vicariously through the stories. I’m thankful for this book because it was one of the first series that I read that allowed me to travel to a new place and experience a different life through reading. 
3.
How I loved The Secret Garden! Yep, you can guess…I read it so many times while I was growing up. I loved it because as the garden came to life, so did the characters. And what little girl wouldn’t love a secret garden all to herself? Ok, maybe lots of girls wouldn’t, but I would have loved it. However, it would have to be secret, and my own idea, because I didn’t like it when I had to go weed the gardens as my chore growing up. I’m thankful for this book because it allowed me to experience living in a different part of the world, and to learn about friendship.
4. 
I cannot even count how many times I read the Anne of Green Gables series in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. I loved Anne so much! I would laugh with her, cry with her, and learn lessons right along side her. Reading this book allowed me to escape into a different place and time. Poetry came to life when Anne read it. I’m thankful for this book and series because it taught me a lot about people and how everyone just wants to be loved and nurtured. 
5. 
My dad read this book to me when I was younger. It was one of the only books that he read to us, and I loved every second of it. I thought Buttercup was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen, and I loved each of the characters. I’m totally going to date myself here, but when we finished reading the book we went and saw the movie in the theater. It was amazing! To this day, I love this book and the movie. This was one of the first experiences I had with reading the book and then watching the movie. Thankfully, to me, the movie was just as good as the book. I’m thankful for this book because of the many memories I have of the time we spent reading it as a family.
6.  
I am the oldest of six children, and that includes one sister and four brothers. My sister and I always felt out numbered, even though we were the oldest. We would dream of having more sisters (We do have more sisters now because all of my brothers are married-it’s so fun!!). Reading Little Women allowed me to experience life with more sisters. I’m thankful for this book because of the experiences these women had, and all that I learned from them. 
7. 
Where do I even start with this one? Reading Pride and Prejudice opened the door for me into Jane Austen’s world. And oh, how I love that world! I believe I’ve read all of her books now, although I may have missed one, and they are my favorites! I love the romance and the characters. I’m thankful for this book because it opened up a whole new world to me.
8.
I’ve read most of Agatha Christie’s books, but I chose And Then There Were None because it was one of the most memorable to me. I loved the mystery of her books, and I enjoyed trying to figure it all out before I got to the end. I wasn’t very good at it, but I sure enjoyed it! I’m thankful for this book (and her other books too), though, because it was something that I shared with my sweet grandma. My grandma and I would read these books and discuss what we thought about them. She’s gone now, but I’m so thankful for the memories we shared with these books.
9. 
Oh, how I love this book! I’ve read the UNABRIDGED version of Les Miserables at least three times, and I love it more and more each time I read it. You should see my copy. It’s definitely well loved! Victor Hugo was a master of character development, of description, and of emotion. The characters are beloved friends in this book. I love how Jean Valjean grows and develops throughout the book, and how Cosette begins to come out of her shell under Valjean’s love and care. I love all of it, including all the history. I love the language in this book; it is so well crafted. I’m thankful for this book because of the lessons it teaches me, the beloved friends that I have made, and the emotion I feel as I read it.  
10.
The Count of Monte Cristo is another book that I am thankful for. Yes, I have read the UNABRIDGED version probably three times as well, and have loved it more each time I’ve read it. Getting lost in the story is my favorite part! I can’t imagine being imprisoned for so long for something you didn’t do. The hatred, bitterness, and anger you would feel would be hard to break free from. I’m thankful for this book because you get to see Edmond grow, learn, and change, and you are able to experience life in a different place and time.
11.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is an amazing book that opened my eyes to many things! I learned a lot from this book, and it was nonfiction! That is why I’m thankful for this book today; I’m thankful for this book because it showed me that nonfiction doesn’t need to be poorly written, long, and boring. This nonfiction story was written so well that it read like fiction. Loved it!
12.
1776 by David McCullough is another nonfiction book that is so well written it reads like fiction. The Revolutionary War is one of my favorite subjects to learn about, and I loved getting caught up in this story! I enjoyed learning about George Washington and his leadership; you learn that he wasn’t perfect, but he worked hard, and did his best. I also enjoyed learning about some of the other key players in the war. I am thankful for this book because I’m thankful to be able to learn about the history of my country.
13.
The books I’ve been thankful for so far have revolved solely around me. And most of them have been classics. Here, my focus changes a bit. I’m thankful for Fablehaven because it is fun series that 2nd-3rd graders are able to read, and it gets them excited about reading. Times have changed, and although my children are great readers, they have not enjoyed the classics. I’m going to write about this at a later time, but for now I’m thankful for Fablehaven because it has introduced my children to the fun of reading, and has gotten them excited about reading. 
14.
The Harry Potter series is the same way. I read these as an adult and enjoyed them, and was excited to pass them onto my children. I’m thankful for these books because they open the doorway into reading for many children. My oldest three have read all of them, and my youngest is reading book #5 as we speak. It’s so fun to watch your children get involved in the story! 
15.
I had to choose at least one picture book! I have always loved picture books! I’m sure my mom got tired of reading them to me; I haven’t read them to my kids in awhile now, but I loved it! The Best Nest is especially good because it combines humor with a cute story. The illustrations are super cute, and I love how hard the daddy bird works to find the perfect home for his family. I’m thankful for this book because picture books are the foundation for good readers! They’re the perfect starting point because parents and children get to spend time together, and reading together brings such wonderful memories. 
Which books are you thankful for?

I hope you all have a very
Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Calling All Writers!!!

*Calling All Writers*

Occasionally I get asked what you need to do to get your book published. Well, here’s a great solution!

Inkitt.com

has a writing contest going on right now.  The winner gets a publishing deal! Easy Peasy! All you need to do is click on the image below and enter your story into the contest. Your fictional story needs to be at least 20,000 words and it must be in English. Fanfiction is not allowed, and neither are short story collections. You may find all the rules on their site. Go enter your story!! I’d love it if one of my readers won!!


(Disclosure: I am an Inkitt.com affiliate, and do receive a monetary reward for stories submitted from my link. However, I really would love it if one of my readers won! ) 

*Updated! This post was first published on 2/17/17.

Proper Romance Give-away!!!


In celebration of August being 
Romance Awareness Month, 
I have a HUGE give-away!!
I have copies of five proper romances to give away! 
It’s a winner-take-all celebration!
If you win, you receive a copy of:

The Lady of the Lakes by Josi S. Kilpack
Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
The Vicar’s Daughter by Josi S. Kilpack
The Sheriffs of Savage Wells by Sarah M. Eden
Forever and Forever by Josi S. Kilpack

There are only two requirements for this give-away!
#1 Like the Proper Romance Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/ProperRomanceSeries/)
#2 Comment below with your name and email address (These will be private, and I will not add your email address to any lists or anything, it’s just so I can notify you if you win.)
That’s it!!! I will announce the winner on August 31st!!!
Good luck!!!

Letter To My Readers

I just wanted to take a minute and let you know how sorry I am that I have not been keeping up with my blog this spring and summer. My 15 year-old son has been super sick since the beginning of April. He missed the last seven weeks of school, spent four days in the hospital, and had a feeding tube for over a month. He is slowly recovering, but it is going to be a long, slow process to full recovery. My family comes first, and taking care of him has been my first priority. Consequently, my blog has suffered. 🙁 I haven’t even had a lot of time to even read, which is so sad. Please bear with me for the next few months as I take care of my family. I’ll post as much as I can; I have many books sitting on my shelf waiting to be read, so hopefully I’ll be able to get back to normal soon! 
Keep reading!!!
~Monica

Disneyland!

Hi Readers! I am in Disneyland with my family right now, so I’m using the hotel
computer to write this review of Lady of the Lakes. This is a Mac, and I have an
HP, and for some reason the formatting is all wonky. I’m so sorry!! I’ll fix it when I get home. 🙂
~Monica

The Last Descent (Movie)

The Last Descent
(Movie)
Blurb:
“When John Edward Jones climbed down into Nutty Putty Cave in November of 2009 he wasn’t prepared for the adventure ahead of him. As he explored a lesser-known area of the cave, he slid down into a narrow impasse 10 inches high and 18 inches wide. Stuck upside down for over 28 hours, John was left with few options but to call for help. The unique topography and geological makeup of Nutty Putty cave created intense difficulties for the rescue team that risked everything to save John’s life. Over 150 feet below the surface and the end of over a thousand feet of tunnels, a unique friendship is formed as John and his rescuers share their lives, loves, losses and dreams. As the rescue attempt proceeds John unfolds the turns in his life that show what is most important, and he tells the story of a love worth risking everything for.” 

My Review:

I remember hearing about this story several years ago in the news. I cannot imagine being trapped underground in a cave, upside down and unable to move. That would be awful! Consequently, some of this movie is difficult to watch. You know what is going to happen and so you find yourself yelling at the tv (I watched it on DVD), telling him to stop. It doesn’t work, unfortunately, he gets trapped. The story of John and his wife is so sweet and touching. It’s a little cheesy in parts, but it’s a good love story, what do you expect? And then comes the part about the rescuers and their attempts to help John. There’s no cheese there, only hard work and dedication. I’ve been in a couple of caves in my life, but they’re just the big ones with stalagmites and stalagtites, and they have tour guides that walk you through. I’m definitely not adventurous enough to go into the really crazy caves! And this movie definitely doesn’t change my mind! The acting is well done, I thought. John’s character did a really good job. Like I said, there may be a few cheesy parts here and there, but overall it is well done. The story flows well and just pulls you in. There are some really good morals and lessons in this story. I love how John expresses the importance of family and faith. Definitely take your kleenexes! I’d say 3.5/5 stars.

View the Preview Here:

Rating: PG (There’s no profanity or “intimacy,” except for some brief kissing. There isn’t any violence either, but the man is stuck upside down in a cave for over 24 hours, and it’s difficult to watch him suffer.)

Recommendation: 13 years-old and up. I know my 11 year-old daughter would not want to watch this movie, and I wouldn’t want her to. I’d be fine with my 13 and 15 year-old sons watching it. I know it says it’s PG, not PG-13, but it’s quite deep and a little too much for those younger kids.

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this DVD in exchange for my honest review.

(P.S. It’s not too late to order this for Christmas!!)