Update on Book Reviews!

Hi Friends,

Just a heads-up, I will now be posting all book reviews on Well-Read Twenty Something🙂 this blog will still be up and running for my latest rant, but if you want all my book reviews, please follow my new page! The layout is still in the works, and I’m still transferring all the old book reviews over, but it is up and running! Check it out!


BR: The Carnelian Legacy

17453523.jpgThe Carnelian Legacy by Cheryl Koevoet

Rating:★ ★ ★

Favorite Line: “Never forget that it is by choice that the ordinary person decides to live a life that is extraordinary.”


The Carnelian Legacy by Cheryl Koevoet follows the adventures of a Marisa MacCullum as she is thrown into a world unknown after her own has fallen apart.

On the evening of her father’s funeral, Marisa takes her horse for a ride in the Oregon countryside to clear her head and settle her nerves. While riding, a strange occurrence sends her horse into panic and her to the ground, where she hits her head and is knocked unconscious.

Marisa wakes to two strange men staring down at her and speaking a language totally unknown. She soon finds out that not only did she get knocked out, but she also got knocked into an entirely different realm and is no longer on Earth.

Unsure of what to do, Marisa takes advantage of the men’s hospitality and she tags along on their journey, which she soon discovers is one of utmost importance regarding the politics of this new country.

Marisa soon becomes more involved with this adventure and gets caught up in tense situations, all while trying to adjust to living in a new world, and also trying to find a way to return home.


This book was better than I expected. I didn’t have the highest expectations because I’m not the biggest fan of the Young Adult genre, and this one was clearly that, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with what I got from The Carnelian Legacy. While the story didn’t take total control over me, I did find myself not wanting to put it down at times, especially toward the end. It is exciting and adventurous, and has quite a few plot twists to keep you engaged.

This book follows the classic guidelines for a good YA novel: unexpected heroine, fun sidekick, charming, yet secretive hero, monsters, royalty, romance, betrayal, etc. It really hits them all—which is ultimately good, because that is exactly what many YA readers are looking for and expecting.

I enjoyed the characters, especially the main three, Darian, Marisa, and Arrie, however I did find them very predictable at times. I was hoping for a little more character development, but the author did give us enough to build upon and create a solid image of these three in our minds. I’ll be honest, at times I found myself completely annoyed with Marisa—she was whiney, she overreacted to little things, and she read way to far into things that were not that big of a deal. However, when I reflected on this, I realized that I was probably all of those things when I was 17/18 and it made me less annoyed with her behavior—but I did have to remind myself of that several times in the book.

The plot was fantastic. It was set up nicely and flows easily throughout the book—not once did I find myself confused about what was going on. I don’t want to go into what worked and what didn’t for me, because that would probably ruin the book for everyone, but I did think the plot was very exciting.

My biggest critique of this book is actually the use of the God figure in it. I don’t mind that a God figure was used, but what I minded was how quickly she took on the God of the new country. Now, to be clear, it wasn’t a different God as our own, but it did have a different name, and Marisa uses it almost immediately upon learning it in this new land. I had a hard time with this because if I went to a new world and they told me God was called Garon (which it is in the book), I would still pray to God, not Garon, so I was a little perturbed that she took on this new name right away—it just didn’t seem natural to me.

I give this book 3 ½ stars because I did think it was good, and I do want to read the other books in this series, but I didn’t think it was fantastic.

I would recommend this book to people who are looking for a fun YA novel, because it really is that and I don’t think you will be disappointed.


*I recieved this book free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange to a fair and unbiased review.

I review for BookLook Bloggers

Rest for a Searching Heart


Searching, searching, searching. 

This action of searching has become more and more prominent in my life and in the lives of people around me. Searching for the right school, searching for the right job, searching for the right group of friends, searching for a purpose, searching for their future husband or wife, searching for the right church, searching for excitement, searching for something new, searching for the truth, or merely searching for something entirely unknown.

As humans with a vast intellect, we have a beautiful desire to search. We have a need for knowledge that is unique to our species alone. We have the desire to find something better than what we have now—a way to improve our lives in order to live to the best of our ability. This desire is instilled in our skin, in our hearts, and in our soul; we all want to be the best version of ourselves and we all want to live our life to the fullest—we desire perfect happiness.

Because of this desire we are in a constant state of searching for whatever it is that will make us into that perfect version of ourself, but the question all of us ask in this stage is what is IT that we must find? We know the answer is out there; IT has to exist because we are not made to be inadequate. We are meant to be the best versions of ourselves, so there must be something that will help us achieve that goal. But what is IT?

This question has haunted mankind since the beginning. Adam and Eve thought IT was pure, unlimited knowledge. Socrates believed that true happiness came from a rational effort of harmonizing your body and soul by gaining complete control of your desires. Buddhists believe the path to your best version of yourself is by obtaining Nirvana—a state reached once you have disciplined your body, soul, and mind to no longer require or crave earthly things. Hindus believe perfect happiness comes from mediation and liberation of the soul from the body. The French philosopher John Locke believed true happiness came from satisfying your desires, particularity those desires that are intrinsically good for you as an individual. Aristotle said “he is happy who lives in accordance with complete virtue and is sufficiently equipped with external goods, not for some chance period but throughout a complete life” (Nicomachean Ethics).

In just those handful of great thinkers we have several ideas and theories about what happiness is and how to achieve it—they all believe that happiness, or the best version of yourself, is the end goal of the human earthly life, however with all the different ideas of how to obtain it, it’s not surprising that we are still stuck searching for the seemingly unobtainable desire.

This search begins at birth and, unfortunately for all of us, it has no end in sight. Since, however, everything has a beginning and end, we can easily conclude that there is an obtainable end. Furthermore, while we are all individuals, we are all members of the same species, the same form of rational, living, breathing human beings, body and soul, I believe we can only find PERFECT happiness the same thing. 

Now, I say perfect happiness because I believe we all obtain imperfect, or temporary happiness in different ways. I feel incredibly happy sitting fourth row at a hockey game, while my best friend feels happy while watching The Bachelor. These are temporary cases of happiness, but that is not what we are talking about. I could go to 1,000 hockey games and I would still be searching the thing that calms my restless heart. My best friend could watch 1,000 episodes of The Bachelor, and this may make her temporarily happy (which I don’t understand, but that is another blog post in itself), but she will still feel that searching feeling in her heart, unless she has lodged her happiness in something more fundamental, more substantial, more true than something that only gives you 58 minutes of happiness—we, as humans, want more.

The reason I have been ruminating on this topic is because I recently re-read a poem that I completely adore. The poem is called “The Collar” written by George Herbert and it perfectly describes the searching I am talking about.

The Collar

By: George Herbert

I struck the board, and cried, “No more;

I will abroad!

What? shall I ever sigh and pine?

My lines and life are free, free as the road,

Loose as the wind, as large as store.

Shall I be still in suit?

Have I no harvest but a thorn

To let me blood, and not restore

What I have lost with cordial fruit?

Sure there was wine

Before my sighs did dry it; there was corn

Before my tears did drown it.

Is the year only lost to me?

Have I no bays to crown it,

No flowers, no garlands gay? All blasted?

All wasted?

Not so, my heart; but there is fruit,

And thou hast hands.

Recover all thy sigh-blown age

On double pleasures: leave thy cold dispute

Of what is fit and not. Forsake thy cage,

Thy rope of sands,

Which petty thoughts have made, and made to thee

Good cable, to enforce and draw,

And be thy law,

While thou didst wink and wouldst not see.

Away! take heed;

I will abroad.

Call in thy death’s-head there; tie up thy fears;

He that forbears

To suit and serve his need

Deserves his load.”

But as I raved and grew more fierce and wild

At every word,

Methought I heard one calling, Child!

And I replied My Lord.

Ah! This poem just speaks to my soul! Now, don’t worry if it didn’t speak to you right away, I had to read it 45 times and listen to a lecture about it until I finally understood the full meaning. 

This poem follows a priest who doubts his work. He feels all of his work and his sacrifices have been for naught. He no longer feels the glories of all that he has done. When he was younger he saw first hand the fruits of his labor, but now, nothing. He finds there is no other option than to abandon his post; give up his searching and flee for an easier path. 

As this poem progresses the narrator gets angrier and more despaired at his present circumstances. He is searching for joy he had before; the peace of being satisfied.

The crucial part of this poem comes in the last four lines:

But as I raved and grew more fierce and wild

At every word,

Methought I heard one calling, Child!

And I replied My Lord.


It’s amazing how quickly the poem turns here. He has line after line of rage and confusion and then here at the end all it took was one word from His Lord and all of that fear and anxiety disappears and he is at peace again. 

This poem perfectly exemplifies the searching we all go through. We want to be recognized, to be worthy and useful, but nothing we do seems good enough because our hearts seek something not of this world.

“Because God has made us for Himself, our hearts are restless until they rest in him.” 

St. Augustine is another perfect example of this searching. His whole life he searched for the physical happiness his heart desired, but that’s all he was doing, searching. Finally he stopped searching and he began to accept God in his life. He accepted the role and the path God wanted him to take and his search was over. No, he didn’t find ultimate happiness on earth, because, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, only imperfect happiness is attainable on earth, but he knew the perfect happiness was awaiting him at the end of the journey and he no longer needed to search for it here on earth.

You see, searching is not the answer. As humans we have the unfortunate habit of thinking we are the only ones who define our path. “We hold the keys to our destiny” or however the saying goes—I don’t really know because it’s a waste of time. The answer is acceptance and trust.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” Proverbs 3:5

So there are two things we have to do to obtain happiness: accept God to work in our lives, and trust his plan is the only plan that will truly make us the best version of ourselves. We have to abandon our endless search for the best end result we can imagine and accept that God’s end result is a bazillion times greater than anything our minds could come up with.

This obviously doesn’t mean just stop living and wait for God to set your life in motion; no, not at all, because God is a God of action. He wants to you follow his plan willingly, not lead you down the path with your hands tied. But he also wants you to be actively following him and actively trusting in his way.

I actually agree with Aristotle’s idea of earthly happiness, “he is happy who lives in accordance with complete virtue and is sufficiently equipped with external goods, not for some chance period but throughout a complete life.” I think it’s an imperfect happiness like Aquinas suggests, but I do agree that if we live in accordance with complete virtue we will be truly happy, because true virtue can lie only in accordance with God’s plan. One cannot be truly virtuous without God—it’s impossible.

The search we go on can be fruitful. It can help bring clarity and understanding. It wields knowledge and the yearning to discover the new and beautiful. Yet, even with the fruit the search brings, our hearts will continue to be restless until we rest in the peace of God. We will be restless until we stop the search and accept the beauty God has laid before our feet, all while whispering to us to follow Him.

“When I come to be united to thee with all my being, then there will be no more pain and toil for me, and my life shall be a real life, being wholly filled by thee.”

– Saint Augustine.

BR: Lord of Misrule

Reading my way through Popsugar’s 2016 Book Challenge.

Category: A National Book Award Winner

9505561.jpgLord of Misrule –Jaimy Gordon (294)

Rating: ★★

Favorite Line: “A horseman of the old school, a gentleman who never forgot to dip down and stake you when he win. He was more ashamed to be stingy than to be broke, so as long as he had two dollars you had one . . .”


I’m sad to say I was extremely disappointed with this book. I didn’t have huge expectations because I knew nothing of the premise, but since it was the winner of the National Book Award, I was expecting a well-written and captivating story, in the least. What I found, however, was neither of these things.

I found the book confusing and scattered. It jumped between characters so frequently that I found it hard to keep track of which events corresponded with which character, especially when names or indication of character was left out. I would read paragraphs at a time without knowing whom the story was following at that moment. The heavy use of multiple nicknames did not help either.

The story (mainly) follows Maggie, a mostly clueless girl, as she tags along with her boyfriend Tommy into the harsh world of horse racing at Indian Mound Downs in Wheeling, West Virginia. Maggie comes in headstrong, making her presence known, and soon seals a spot for Tommy, her, and their horses at the racetrack. There the two live side-by-side with crooks and thieves who are all just trying to make a couple extra bucks on half-beaten down horses.

The events that follow are the flustered and frustrating on goings of a shady horse track. Gambling, harassment, cheating, backstabbing, molestation, witchcraft (or, at least, some form of it)—really anything unpleasant you could think of. There are races, of course, and horse trading and buying, but even with those exciting plot points, I could not get back the creepy aspect of the book.

As I mentioned before, I had a hard time following the flow of the book, but one of my main criticisms was the voice of the narrator. I understand ignoring grammar rules when writing the voice of a character, because that’s the best way to show accent, upbringing, and lifestyle, however in this book the voice of the shady southern horseman was prominent throughout, not just in the voices of the characters. I know this was very intentional and a form of literary expression, and I am sure many people praise the book for this very trait, but for me, it did not sit well.

I Wish I could say something positive about this book, mainly because it did win the National Book Award which means it impressed many people much wiser than I, but I just did not enjoy this read—I could not wait until it ended and when it did, I had a bad taste in my mouth.

With that being said, I am just one person with just one opinion, this book has been highly praised and I don’t want to turn anyone interested in a literary work away from this novel. Check it out for yourself and see if it fits your fancy.


Jaimy Gordon teaches in Western Michigan University. Her most famous work Bogeywoman was on the LA Times bestseller list in 2000.

BR: A Grief Observed

Reading my way through Popsugar’s 2016 Book Challenge.

Category: A book you can finish in a day

grief observed.jpgA Grief Observed—C.S. Lewis


Favorite Line: “Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.”

Rating: ★★★★★


“We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, ‘Blessed are they that mourn,’ and I accept it. I’ve got nothing that I hadn’t bargained for. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not imagination.”

C.S. Lewis is arguably the most quotable author ever. His books are full of one-liners that pierce your heart and make you feel like he wrote it just for you. This is the same for his book A Grief Observed.

Lewis wrote A Grief Observed after the death of his wife Joy Davidman. It contains reflections of his grief and mourning in a time when he was most vulnerable. He shares his innermost thoughts and feelings in a deeply emotional internal dialogue as he tries to work his way through this tragedy.

If you are familiar with Lewis’ work you know that most of it, if not all, is deeply spiritual and theological. He is one of the most famous theologians in modern time and continues to be a staple teacher on spirituality. He was also, however, human, and while he had faith stronger than most, he reflected on how shaken his faith was when his wife passed—showing that even the strongest can, and most likely will, lose their steadfast beliefs at times. And yet, his logic proves greater than his fear and his always comes back with a faith stronger than the paragraph before.

“If my house has collapsed at one blow, that is because it was a house of cards. The faith which ‘took these things into account’ was not faith but imagination.”

Lewis brings a beautiful human aspect into the character of grief. He describes it so accurately for those of us who can’t put it into words, so that when we read it we are able to cry aloud, “yes, yes, that is it! That is what my heart has been screaming all this time.”

Typically if someone were to ask me if they should read a C.S. Lewis book, I would always say yes, anytime and at any stage of life. With this one, however, I hesitate to say yes to everyone. This is not meant to be a reflection on the author or the quality of the work, because I give both the highest ranking I can, but I fear if you read this at the wrong time of life you will not get as much as you can out of it.

I read this book 5 years (almost to the day) after my father passed away from cancer. And yes, after 5 years I am still grieving. This book spoke to my soul. Everything I read I felt like I had written it and not Lewis. It spoke to me emotionally, physically, mentally, and, most importantly, spiritually. He describes perfectly what it’s like in the lonely days following a death, to the days when you need to get back to your ordinary life, even though that ordinary life is changed forever. He spoke of the difficulty of doing normal things, like eating at a restaurant you both went to, seeing friends, and having to make dreaded small talk.

“I see people, as they approach me, trying to make up their minds whether they’ll ‘say something about it’ or not. I hate if they do, and if they don’t.”

If you have lost someone close to you, even if it’s not losing him or her to death but in another form, you should read this book. This book was written by the grieving for the grieving, and the grieving will benefit the most from it. If you are not, you will still benefit from it, I’m sure, it’s beautiful and deep and it will leave you with something, but I fear you will leave a lot in the book that should be taken with you.

It is really beautiful and reassuring to see Lewis work through this grief and work through his times of anger toward God. He doesn’t end with a solution to how to deal with grief, for a solution does not exist, nor does he resolve that one must embrace the grief and accept it as a reality.

“I thought I could describe a state; make a map of sorrow. Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process.”

Grief is a process, and that process can only become complete when one finds peace. Peace with the tragedy, peace with humanity, peace with the process, and peace with God. Peace does not come when you find all the answers, or go through all the steps, or because memory fades with the years. No, peace comes when you accept that there are things in the world that we can never comprehend, when we accept that we are but a small piece of a glorious puzzle and we cannot yet see the final result of our labor.

“When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of ‘No answer.’ It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, ‘Peace, child; you don’t understand.’”

If you have lost someone in your life, I highly encourage you to read this book. It helped bring me peace with the passing of my father, and I am assured it will help anyone else who is suffering. In less than 100 pages, Lewis reminds us that grieving is ok. He reassures us that all the guilt, anger, sadness, and fear we are feeling are all apart of the process and they are O.K. We do not need to fell ashamed of this process because it is natural and necessary, but we do need to allow the process to continue and not permit the grief to become a state of our lives.


C.S. Lewis was born in Northern Ireland in 1898. He studied at Oxford University and later became the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University. He wrote dozens of books and essays which have all withstood the test of time.  He is known best for his 7 book series, The Chronicles of Narnia.

BR: Frankenstein

Reading my way through Popsugar’s 2016 Book Challenge.

Category: A Book You Haven’t Read Since High School

tumblr_n8cvejpR5p1qkl5tno5_400Frankenstein: or The Modern Prometheus – Mary Shelley (273)


Rating: ★★★★★

Favorite Line: “Life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it.”


Frankenstein: or The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley is a perfect example of why everyone should re-read the books they were forced to read in high school.

I first read this book as a junior in high school and I absolutely hated it. I thought it was completely boring and I struggled to finish it, let alone find any redeeming qualities about it, and that really bothered me. I usually don’t mind finding a book I dislike—there are millions of books out there, and there are thousands of very bad books out there, but I really wanted to like this one.

For starters, Frankenstein was a classic and I love classics more than any other genre and so it didn’t sit well with me that I had to force myself to read another page. Also, this book is the king of Gothic novels, and it set the premise for new movies, books, and play adaptations for over a century.

Ever since reading it in high school I was determined to re-read it and hopefully like it this time like it.  Well, it took me years to do it but I finally got the motivation to do so (thanks to a book club) and I am so incredibly happy I did.

I think the biggest difference between me reading this book in high school and reading it now is my interest in philosophical and moral issues has increased. Before, I assume, I wanted an interesting plot and nothing more, but now I look for books that go deeper than the surface plot and lead to discussions of morality and truth—and this book definitely supplies the content for those discussions.

The book circles mostly around the issue of the humanness of the monster and whether or not Dr. Frankenstein should make another monster as a companion for the first one.

To summarize these main plots, Dr. Frankenstein, horrified by what he has created, starts his mission to destroy the creature when he finds out the creature is destroying everything that is precious to the doctor. The two met in the mountains after months of not seeing each other and the monster tells his story of what happened after his was created.

The monster tells of his loneliness, his agony, and his despair, but also of his longing for love, his gentle spirit, his desire for good, and his studies. During the monster’s speech Dr. Frankenstein becomes sympathetic toward the monster and almost willingly agrees to create a companion for him, but then his heart is hardened to the idea and the monster vows to destroy Dr. Frankenstein’s happiness until he agrees to make the creature.

“Hateful day when I received life!’ I exclaimed in agony. ‘Accursed creator! Why did you form a monster so hideous that even you turned from me in disgust? God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring, after his own image; but my form is a filthy type of yours, more horrid even from the very resemblance. Satan had his companions, fellow-devils, to admire and encourage him; but I am solitary and abhorred.”

The story continues on in this measure—a moral game of Ping-Pong in the doctor’s mind, debating if he should give in to the monster’s request in order to stop bloodshed, or if he should try to kill his creation, even if that means giving his own life in the act.

This dilemma not only consumes the mind of the doctor but also the mind of the reader as it is probable that the reader will change their opinion several times throughout the novel, causing this discussion to become more intense with each chapter. This is what makes Shelley’s novel one of the greats—it not only shares the story with the audience, but it invites the audience to be apart of the jury set to condemn either the monster or the creator.

This book is known throughout the world as Frankenstein but not as commonly as it’s full title:  Frankenstein: or The Modern Prometheus. In my book club we briefly discussed the meaning behind this second title, and who in the story is the modern Prometheus—the doctor or the monster. While we didn’t exactly come to a conclusion, I believe Shelley intended the answer to be twofold and to represent both the protagonist and the antagonist.

The story of Prometheus is that he rebelled against the wishes of Zeus and created mankind. Furthermore he disobeyed him again by giving the gift of fire to man. Zeus punished Prometheus by chaining him to a rock where his liver was eaten by an eagle, then every night his liver would grow back and he would endure the punishment day after day without ceasing.

Dr. Frankenstein is similar to a Prometheus because he defied the rules of society and created life. He took it upon himself to become creator of a man using stolen parts and therefore rebelled against the natural order of things. His creation haunted him the rest of his life without ceasing, and like Prometheus, he had the burden of never being without the reminder of what he did.

The monster, however, is also similar to Prometheus. He was created not by love but by curiosity, and the result of this was his hideous appearance and grotesque form. Like Prometheus, he lived daily with the reminder that he was   cursed and wherever he went he would be met with hateful eyes.

“I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.”

This book is fantastic. It went from being my least favorite classic novel to one of my most beloved. Although written about 200 years ago, it still manages to discuss issues that remain relevant today—the test of a true classic.

Before ending I would like to help clarify things that happen in the movie adaptations that do not happen in the book. I really hope someone makes a true Frankenstein movie that follows the book, however, since there are so many knockoffs that have drastically changed the story, I don’t know if it will ever happen.

  1. Frankenstein is not the monster. Frankenstein is the scientist who creates the monster. The monster is aptly named “the monster.”
  2. Frankenstein did not scream, “it’s alive” during a lightning storm. The moment the monster comes alive is much more anti-climatic than expected. Upon receiving life, the monster opens his eyes and Dr. Frankenstein becomes so alarmed over the creature that he runs out of the room and hides for hours afterward.
  3. Igor, Dr. Frankenstein’s clumsy, hunchbacked assistant, does not exist in the book. The only person who would come close to being Dr. Frankenstein’s assistant would be his best friend Henry Clerval, but even that would be a stretch as Henry never participated in the creation of the monster, nor did he ever know the monster was created.
  4. The monster is not the blubbering idiot most of the movies portray him to be. Yes, he is giant and insanely strong, but he actually became quite literate and logical at an abnormally fast rate, as seen in this example of a speech by the monster appealing to Frankenstein to show him mercy.


“Be calm! I entreat you to hear me before you give vent to your hatred on my devoted head. Have I not suffered enough, that you seek to increase my misery? Life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it. Remember, thou hast made me more powerful than thyself; my height is superior to thine, my joints more supple. But I will not be tempted to set myself in opposition to thee. I am thy creature, and I will be even mild and docile to my natural lord and king if thou wilt also perform thy part, the which thou owest me. Oh, Frankenstein, be not equitable to every other and trample upon me alone, to whom thy justice, and even thy clemency and affection, is most due. Remember that I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed. Everywhere I see bliss, from which I alone am irrevocably excluded. I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous.”


  1. The monster is not evil because it has the mind of a murderer, or because it was tortured by Dr. Frankenstein, but he became “evil” out of revenge for being created and then abandoned by the doctor and, furthermore, as a consequence for the doctor for not making him a companion.


Those are five major differences, but I’m sure there are plenty more as there are numerous movie adaptations that fail to do the book justice.

I put my favorite quote at the beginning of this post and I will leave you with my second favorite quote, which reminds us all to have courage.

“Oh! Be men, or be more than men. Be steady to your purposes and firm as a rock. This ice is not made of such stuff as your hearts may be; it is mutable and cannot withstand you if you say that it shall not. Do not return to your families with the stigma of disgrace marked on your brows. Return as heroes who have fought and conquered, and who know not what it is to turn their backs on the foe.”



Mary Shelley was an England native who lived from the late 1700’s to the mid 1800’s. She was married to poet and philosopher Percy Shelley. Over her life she wrote novels, short stories, travel articles, dramas, and essays.





BR: The Iliad

Reading my way through Popsugar’s 2016 Book Challenge.


Category:A book that is at least 100 years older than you.

1371.jpgThe Iliad –Homer (683)


Rating: ★★★★★

Favorite Line: Any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.


The Iliad is perhaps the oldest piece of literature in the world, passed down from generation to generation, translated into hundreds of languages, dated back to somewhere between 1260-1180 BC. There are many reasons why it has stood the test of time. It is a poem of epic proportions, bringing the mythical world and the natural world into one fantastic war. It gave us characters that now hold their own power, known outside of the story for their immortal qualities.

Two events many people associate with The Iliad are the famous shot to the heel that killed Achilles, and the Trojan Horse. Unfortunately, if you were able to go back in time and ask Homer what The Iliad was about, neither of those events would appear in his answer. Both the death of Achilles and the overthrow of the city of Troy happen after the end of the poem and we only know about them thanks to the Homer’s follow-up epic poem The Odyssey.

The Iliad is about the Trojan War, but it only really covers the final year of the ten-year war. Furthermore, it includes not one, but three different “wars” which last throughout the narrative. The first being the primary conflict between The Trojans and the Greeks, the second being the conflict between Achilles, the Grecian hero, and Agamemnon, the Grecian king who leads the armies against the Trojans, and the third being the battle between the mythological gods, which influences the mortal battle.

Homer’s ability to compose a poem that has withstood the test for thousands of years is beyond extraordinary. This story covers themes all men can relate to, not just those living in the time of Homer. Themes of love, friendship, mortality, pride, and bravery are portrayed throughout with the same value and influence as they do today.

To me, critiquing this poem seems a little absurd—it has been reviewed and studied thousands of times determining it’s greatness…I don’t need to do that. Therefore, with this being the classic of classics, I’m just going to share with you my favorite quotes that have withstood the test of time.


Lastly, my favorite quote just proves that even in the time of Homer, long before the car was invented, human beings suffered from severe road rage:


BR: Troublemaker

Reading my way through Popsugar’s 2016 Book Challenge.


Category: A book written by a celebrity


Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood & Scientology – Leah Remini (256)

Rating: ★★★★

Favorite Line: In a time of universal deceit—telling the truth is a revolutionary act.


I gave this book four stars not because of how well written it was, but because of how interesting it was.

Leah Remini, who is known mostly for her lead role in The King of Queens, has a very commanding control from the start, and she definitely does not hold back anything at all. If you are familiar with her acting, you will probably be able to hear her voice through the entire book.

The book goes through Remeni’s life, from growing up in New York to her family moving to Florida in order to work for the Church of Scientology.

I did not know much about the Church of Scientology before reading it, and while it’s not the best idea to get all your information from somebody who has essentially declared World War III on the organization, but if it is even half of what Remini described it as then it is absolutely insane.

Remini describes her leaving Florida, moving to California, starting her acting career, getting married, and going deeper into the world of Scientology. She discusses the amount of hours, money and “counseling” spent with the church and how much the church controls the life of its parishioners.

“You were either all in or all out. It is an extremist religion. There is no middle ground. And there within its structure lies the danger.”

Remini then takes the reader through the difficult process of her leaving the Church and being exiled from the community she has known her whole life.

I was not expecting much from this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a quick read and it keeps you reading. It’s full of straightforward language and Remini’s fun New York attitude all while giving some inside to a ridiculous new age religion. It’s no wonder this book was a New York Time’s Bestseller.



Leah Remini is an actress and producer originally from Brooklyn, NY. She has also been featured discussing Scientology on many documentary series, including an episode of ABC’s documentary series “20/20” called “Troublemaker.”


The Tales of Spring

Last year I wrote a post containing my favorite quotes from Irish authors in honor of St. Patrick’s day, and now this year I’ve compiled some of my favorite quotes about Spring!

My birthday falls on the first day of spring, plus I’m from the midwest and the winters here are so horribly dreadful, so I may be biased about this season, but I do find so much joy in the spring. It makes me so happy to know I am not alone in the literary world!

Spring is perhaps the best metaphor for any writer of any story. In (almost) every story there is a form of “rebirth” after a time of trial–this is the story’s metaphorical spring.  It’s no surprise, therefore, that springs is a writer’s best friend! It is a time of fresh starts, cool breezes, early sunrises. It is a time to break away from the darkness of winter and embrace the light. See, it really is the perfect season for writing!

Whether it’s poetry, prose or essay, Spring has a dominant presence in literature and here are some of my favorite quotes from some of my favorite authors!


BR: All the Light We Cannot See

Reading my way through Popsugar’s 2016 Book Challenge.


Category: A Book Set In Europe


All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr (530 pages)


My Rating: ★★★★★

Favorite Line: Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.


Set in France and Germany during World War II and the few years leading up to it, this story tells the story of two children, an orphan boy in Hitler Youth, and a blind Parisian girl who flees from occupied France to the coast with her father.

I read this book shortly after reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, which had quickly become my favorite WWII based fiction, but this book challenged that ranking from page one.

Full of breathtaking passages and deep emotional scenes, All the Light we Cannot See hooks you to the two main characters, forcing you to embrace their story as if it were your own.

You can’t help but hurt for Werner, the Germany boy, as he goes through Hitler Youth. You watch his mind slowly change from the young innocent boy who used to listen to French broadcasts with his sister from the attic of their orphanage, to a young soldier locating enemy spies and ignoring any opposition he had in his mind. Even while he abandons his beliefs for those of his commanders, you never fully abandon your belief in him, because after all, He was just a boy. They all were. Even the largest of them.

Marie-Laure, a blind French girl, had to flee Paris with her father to the coastal town of Saint-Malo to stay with her wacky, secluded uncle. This bold girl, encouraged by her spirited father’s puzzles and her braille books, especially Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, finds joy and courage everyday and helping those around her find their own.

Marie-Laure, despite her blindness, and the disappearance of her father, remains the true light of this book. Her determination never ceases and her cleverness only grows as the war goes on.

When I lost my sight, Werner, people said I was brave. When my father left, people said I was brave. But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don’t you do the same?

The book moves toward the inevitable meeting of our two protagonists in a beautifully written narrative with fun (yes, fun, even in a book about WWII) subplots, but yet in many places it will break your heart.


Anthony Doerr won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, along with several other awards for All the Light We Cannot See. Some other works by Doerr include: The Shell Collector (2001), Memory Wall (2010), About Grace (2004), and The Snake Handler (2011).