a tour of my bookshelves

Before I start this post, I have to say that I’m not a very good photographer and I’ve never done a bookshelf tour before, so it might get a little messy/disorganized.  But I love my bookshelves and I hope that by the end of this post, you’ll ‘get’ them as well.

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Bookshelf #1 – Nonfiction

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Bookshelf #2 – Fiction

I rearrange my books semi-frequently, but I try to keep them topically grouped.  Right now, I’ve got one shelf for fiction and one shelf for non-fiction and it’s worked out quite well so far.  I’ve tried arranging my books by color before, but I hate how all the different genres get jumbled up.  Basically, I try to keep the same genres, authors, and topics together.

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Above, you’ll see all my WWI and WWII books (well, the WWI books are hidden behind that really big book on the far left, but they are there).  I usually try to put these books in semi-chronological order (#historygeek).  I didn’t do it this time (you’ll notice that all my Cornelius Ryan books are together), but it is a neat way to organize history books.

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Up next are the biographies (Unbroken is on the shelf below – that’s because I’m reading it right now).  They segue nicely into my movie books (because I’ve got biographies of actors and actresses – two of Audrey Hepburn!).  There’s also a few literary-themed books at the very end.

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Continuing with the ‘books about books’, there are some good ones about Shakespeare, Harper Lee, and Lucy Maud Montgomery.  Then a small section for Random History Books, followed by western nonfiction, and then Christian nonfiction. ❤

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The last shelf on Bookshelf #1 (at least the last that I own) is filled with mostly random stuff as well as the tail end of my nonfiction collection.  Not much to see, really.

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Moving on to Bookshelf #2, we find my Jane Austen collection, along with many, many other classics (including Brick Shakespeare – The Comedies ;)).  I finally trashed my copy of Jo’s Boys, even though it broke up my Little Women series.  I’m really rather proud of my copy of Little Women.  It’s an Easton Press edition that normally costs close to sixty-five dollars…but I bought it at a thrift store for three or four.  It’s beautiful.

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More classics, and then children’s books and middle-grade books (some of which are classics).

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After finishing out the middle-grade section with books 1-4 of the Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins, this shelf moves into YA territory.  I have quite a few ‘mainstream’ titles, but I also have Violins of Autumn by Amy MacAuley and That Was Then, This Is Now by S.E. Hinton, neither of which are all that common (I think).

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My westerns!  And all my Christian fiction!  This is one of my favorite shelves. 🙂

And there you have it.  I briefly considered including my DVD shelf in this post, but this is about books, so I decided not to.  I hope you enjoyed this little peek into my life as an avid bookworm + my way of arranging things.

What do your bookshelves look like?

Eva

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my top ten favorite villains

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Some villains.

Villains.  You’ve gotta hate them.  They’re sneaky, evil, horrid, clever, seemingly invincible (at times), hateful, manipulative, and just downright bad.  Still, there’s a certain fascination that hangs around many villains.  We might be rooting for the hero (at least, I hope we are!) but sometimes the baddies can be so smart, funny, and (in some cases) attractive, that we kind of hope that they get away in the end – or that they turn good (a villain/antagonist turned good guy is amazing, IMO).

Anyway, this is my list of my top ten favorite villains.  It’s not comprehensive, it’s a strictly personal list, but I had fun with it.  There’s five male and five female bad guys/girls because I like making things even.

// Ben Wade – ‘3:10 to Yuma’ //

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I wrote an entire post rhapsodizing about why this guy is my favorite villain of all time and having recently re-watched + loved ‘3:10’, I see no reason to change my opinion.  Just check out my post; it’ll be much more eloquent than anything I could scribble down here.

// Mother Gothel – ‘Tangled’ //

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Manipulative.  That’s the best word to describe Mother Gothel.  Over the past seven years since ‘Tangled’ was released in theaters (has it really been that long?) people have debated over whether or not Gothel actually loved Rapunzel somewhat or was simply using her all along.  I think the answer’s pretty obvious.  As soon as Rapunzel told Mother Gothel that she would never let her hair be exploited again, any pretense of affection on Mother Gothel’s part instantly vanished.  She’s a horrible woman…but a great villainess.

// Jim Moriarty – ‘Sherlock’ //

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Every girl who watches ‘Sherlock’ ends up falling for Moriarty sooner or later.  It’s a basic fact of life.  I think as soon as he showed up in ‘The Great Game’ (as himself, that is, not “Jim from work”) I became fascinated with him in that “you’re a despicable person, but still insanely clever/attractive” way.  It’s really weird. (I was so disappointed when BBC did the bait-and-switch thing in the very last episode with the flashback.  Even after Sherlock concludes Moriarty’s dead, you always wonder.)  His dedication to defeating Sherlock is a bit crazy – I mean, he commits suicide to gain the upper hand.  That is a serious super villain move.

// Solovet – Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins //

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If/when ‘they’ make a movie of the Underland Chronicles, Cate Blanchett NEEDS to play Solovet.

Worst mom of the century award goes to Solovet.  Easily.  She locks Hamnet away without light, without human contact, for a month and then expects him to still be her loyal little son?  Who does that? (I’m writing some fanfiction right now surrounding those events, so I’m more triggered about it than usual.)  I will say, however, that Solovet is the least villainous person on this list.  She’s more of an antagonist than a villain and I still do feel a little sad when she gets sacrificed for TGG (the greater good) near the end of the series.

// Zemo – ‘Captain America: Civil War’ //

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Um…I mostly included Zemo because he has a Tragic Backstory and he’s *cough* rather handsome and I’m rather tired of monstrous comic book villains.  Zemo’s normal compared to a bunch of Marvel and DC villains.  But I don’t particularly think he’s an epic villain, per se. (Though I will defend the brilliance of his plan.  Complexity of that sort amazes me.)

// Queen Levana – Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer //

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The Lunar gift is both fascinating and terrifying.  Can you imagine what the world would be like if people actually had that kind of power?  Levana is a master at manipulating bioelectricity, which makes her frightening and unpredictable.  She, too, has the typical Tragic Backstory but she’s also just plain evil and a little unhinged as well (that always helps).  Even when I read Fairest, which is Levana’s story, it didn’t really make me sympathize with her (though it was written from her POV) because she is so weird/creepy/heartless.

// Scarecrow – the Dark Knight trilogy //

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Speaking of weird and creepy…there’s plenty of weirdness and creepiness going on in Gotham and a lot of that is connected with Arkham Asylum and Jonathon Crane, AKA Scarecrow.  To be honest, my interest in Scarecrow may have more to do with the fact that I really, really like Cillian Murphy than any of Crane’s sterling qualities (I’M KIDDING), but there’s also something of a villain crush going on there as well.  One thing I find interesting in ‘Batman Begins’ is the power struggle.  Falcone thinks he’s so powerful and everything, but then he gets taken down by Crane who acts so superior and then R’as al Ghul sweeps into Gotham and takes over everything.  That being said, I put Scarecrow on the list (as opposed to R’as) because I find Scarecrow more interesting.

// Lina – ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ //

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One word that sums up Lina?  Nasty.  Or, rather, nastiness personified.  She’s deceived herself into believing that she and Don will eventually be together as a couple, so she gets Kathy fired and throws temper tantrums whenever she’s contradicted, and generally makes an idiot of herself.  She’s definitely one of those ‘love to hate’ villains and her downfall is exquisitely perfect.

// Ratigan – ‘The Great Mouse Detective’ //

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Look at that – another Sherlockian baddie!  Ratigan was my number one villain for the longest time and he’s still really high up on my list (just not on this list, ’cause I didn’t really rank anyone here except for my real number one).  One reason for Ratigan’s awesomeness is the fact that he gets TWO villain songs (I know I’ve said that before, but I still find it really, really cool).  He’s the perfect opponent and foil for Basil (in a similar way to how Moriarty and Sherlock are so evenly matched) and Vincent Price’s voice acting is a real treat.

// The Wicked Stepmother – ‘Cinderella’ //

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What is it with stepmothers being so evil?  Lady Tremaine is pretty much the epitome of evil stepmothers and Cate Blanchett brought her to life with biting accuracy. *shivers*

Do you spot any evil favorites on this list?  Who are some of your favorite villains?

Eva

“I am Moanaaaa!”

AKA some scattered thoughts on a few of the character’s from Disney’s ‘Moana’.  Many thanks to my good friend, Jessica Prescott, for inspiring me to write this and giving me some of the thoughts that I incorporated into this post.

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To say ‘Moana’ is visually breathtaking is a gross understatement.  It may be the most beautiful animated film I’ve ever seen, not to mention films in general.  But no matter how beautiful the movie is, how catchy/amazing the songs are, and how interesting the story is, it’s the characters that keep tugging at my heart.  There are so many amazing character moments throughout Moana (with one of my personal favorites being when Moana’s mom gives her silent approval of Moana’s journey by helping her pack <3).  And I want to discuss some of those characters right now.

First of all, there’s Moana herself.  Normally I roll my eyes at a lot of Disney’s ‘girl power’ stuff because so often the female characters are kinda annoying when they go all ‘I can do this better than any guy’.  BUT.  That moment when Moana realizes that she can take the heart back instead of relying on Maui to do so?  *CHILLS*

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Then there’s the fact that even though Moana yearns for closer contact with the ocean, she doesn’t angst and whine and sulk about it.  She recognizes that even though her dreams might differ from the status quo, life on her island is good and even wonderful and that she’s surrounded by people who genuinely love her.  She doesn’t have much to complain about and she doesn’t complain.  She is both able and willing to take over the role of the village chief when it’s time.

So here I’ll stay.
My home, my people beside me.
And when I think of tomorrow
There we are.

I’ll lead the way.
I’ll have my people to guide me.
We’ll build our future together.

You can find happiness right where you are.

-‘Where You Are’

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Rapunzel has always been my favorite Disney princess, followed by Belle, but Moana might unseat both of them.  She’s a great leader and she only leaves her island, her people, and her family because she knows that unless she does, everyone will eventually die.  The stakes are incredibly high and I don’t think she would have left the island for anything less than an emergency.  In all likelihood, had the heart not been stolen from Te Fiti, Moana would have never left her island and would have been quite happy to stay.  But when a crisis arises, she goes out to solve it as best she knows how.  It’s just a coincidence that her life-long dream gets fulfilled at the same time. *grins at the perfectness of it all*

Then there’s Maui.  I was thinking about him yesterday, and I realized that his backstory is a LOT like a Typical Villain Backstory and he could have easily spiraled downward in that direction.  Being abandoned – literally thrown away like garbage – by his parents would have given him ample justification to turn against humankind and wreak havoc among them (especially after being turned into a demigod + being given all the power that comes with his hook).  Instead, he rose above his past (something I admire so, so much) and turned out to be really helpful to people and generally awesome. ❤

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The final character I want to talk about is Moana’s dad, Chief Tui.  He is SO GREAT.  Unlike the typical stern, tyrannical animated movie dad (well, he is stern, but not in a bad way) he’s a well-developed character and person in his own right (complete with a backstory, for once).  He was probably just as adventurous as Moana when he was her age, so I’m sure he understands where she’s coming from.  But at the same time, he knows the dangers of the ocean better than his daughter and it has to be hard for him to rebound from his best friend dying.  Tui is just trying to protect his family and his village in the best way he can.  And I know it’s a cliched motivation for movie dads, but that’s because it’s true.  That’s what dads do.

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So, that’s about all I have to say about the characters of ‘Moana’ for right now.  Do you have any insights to add concerning the three characters I analyzed?  Who is your favorite character in ‘Moana’?

Eva

mini movie reviews {#4}

And one for books coming (hopefully) tomorrow!

04e1b49d131a16e9702c7e50b2c79c88--vintage-retro-vintage-humor.jpgNewsies (1992) – My obsession of 2014’s summer months (this and the Broadway musical).  The songs are still, and always will be, amazing.  Plus, baby Christian Bale.

The Patriot (2000) – Gory and violent, but beautiful as well, and I was hardly ever bored for its almost-three-hour run which is pretty incredible.  I still don’t like Mel Gibson, though.

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This guy, however…

Rogue One (2016) – My heart is smashed.

An American Tail (1986) – While ‘Fievel Goes West’ was watched wayyyy more than ‘An American Tail’ during my childhood, this movie still brought back plenty of good memories.

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Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003) – Ever since I watched and loved A&E’s Horatio Hornblower series I’ve been a little obsessed with that period of British history, so M&C was a natural extension of that.  An excellent film.

Texas (1941) – Super young Glenn Ford and William Holden?  YES.  A thoroughly entertaining ‘B’ western.

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A Royal Night Out (2015) – Gorgeous clothes, lots of Glenn Miller, and not a whole lot going on besides that.  Still, it was amusing.

The Four Feathers (2002) – This movie depresses me to death, but I still love it.  Heath Ledger and Wes Bentley and Kate Hudson all turn in these absolutely gut-wrenching performances.  It’s one of those stories that settled really deeply into my heart and soul forever.

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The Secret of Convict Lake (1951) – One of the better westerns I’ve seen.  Several good female characters, which is a bit unusual for a western.  Glenn Ford and Gene Tierney both gave great performances.

The Inheritance (1997) – This is another #childhood movie and it’s super obscure (but awesome) so if any of you have ever watched it, I’d love to know.  It’s a bit similar to ‘Little Women’ (1994), not least of all because both movies are based on books written by Louisa May Alcott, so I might do a comparison post sometime.

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The Searchers (1956) – Deeply sobering.  A truly great western.

Moana (2016) – I’ve seen this three times now, I think, and I like it a lot better now than I did when I first watched it.  The songs are good and/or catchy for the most part, and Maui is a LOT of fun.  Actually, the whole movie is.

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Have you watched any of these movies?  What films have you seen lately?

Eva

book review: cloaked

36169102.jpgShe never imagined she’d need to flee for her life.

Mary Rose feels uneasy around Mr. Linden from the moment she meets him on the stagecoach ride to her grandmother’s ranch in Wyoming Territory. But he works for her grandmother, so that means he’s trustworthy, doesn’t it? Everyone else seems to view him as honest and respectable, and Mary Rose wonders if she’s overreacting.

She tries to ignore her suspicions until one night, she discovers his real reason for being at the ranch. Now, if she’s going to save her grandmother — and herself — she’s going to need to run faster than she’s ever run before.

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I read Cloaked in one day. It wasn’t hard because the book is shorter than a regular novel and I’m a fast reader, but that wasn’t the only reason I finished it so quickly. The story moved along so well and the characters were so engaging that I had a hard time putting my Kindle down (except once, where I’d been reading for almost three solid hours and my brain was overloaded).

Having recently finished reading the Lunar Chronicles, I was totally in the mood for another fairy tale retelling, and Rachel Kovaciny more than delivered. There were many hints of the original Red Riding Hood story throughout – mainly Mary Rose’s grandmother, Mary Rose’s red cloak, and Hauer’s trade. But Cloaked is very much its own story. Westerns are my favorite genre and this was such a quiet, heartwarming one (though not without its moments of high action – particularly the finale).

My favorite part of Cloaked was easily the characters. Mary Rose was a fine protagonist, very new to the West and the way of life there – it was neat seeing the West through her eyes, as opposed to most western stories I’ve read where the main character has lived there their entire life. Mary Rose was courageous and smart and very much sixteen without being annoyingly so. Her grandmother was a bit hard to ‘read’ at first, but I grew to like her too. The villain is a creep’s creep. Hauer is a dear (and the fact that he’s half-Cherokee made me like him even more and added some great tension to the story).

Overall, a sweet, clean, relationship-centric western that I would recommend to any and all fans of the genre.

I received an ARC copy in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are my own.

Eva

five movies I’d take to a desert island

Even harder to decide than with the books, mainly because there’s lots and lots of movies I love but very few that would hold up under dozens of re-watches.  Still, I’m pretty happy with this list. (And, in the end, there were several that I wanted to include but didn’t.  I think it’s a pretty subjective thing, depending on my mood.)

// The Magnificent Seven {1960} //

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Obviously.  Favorite movie ever and all that.  As for the re-watchability, well…a few days ago my dad wanted to watch this with me and I was a little worried that I would be bored because I’d already seen it so many times and maybe, just maybe I was sick of it.  Turns out, as soon as the opening credits started to roll and that glorious theme started playing, I was sucked in and didn’t look back.  The music, story, and characters are all AWESOME.

// Little Women {1994} //

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Watching this movie, for me, is like eating a warm, delicious, comforting bowl of chicken noodle soup.  It’s one of those films that I actually think is better than the book *gasps from everyone* and I love it to pieces.  The music pulls everything together (like the Anne movies) and Christian Bale is adorable as Laurie and Winona Ryder is perfection as Jo.  ‘Little Women’ makes me cry and laugh and, overall, gives everything about life a warm glow.  At least for a little while.

// Tangled {2010} //

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First Disney princess movie I ever saw.  One of the first movies that made me cry.  Most likely the first animated movie that made me cry.  If I can’t get to sleep, I replay ‘Tangled’ in my head.  Flynn/Rapunzel will forever be my favorite Disney couple.  Mother Gothel is definitely on the list of ‘top ten villains’ that I’m currently mulling over in my head (blog post worthy? absolutely).  And it definitely deserves more recognition than ‘Frozen’, as it’s easily the better movie.

// Singin’ in the Rain {1952} //

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Best musical everrrrr.  End of story.  (Okay, not exactly the end of the story.  It used to be my favorite movie of all time and it’s still right up there and I could watch it every day, not even kidding.)

// Ramona and Beezus {2010} //

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I wasn’t too happy with my decisions for the fifth movie on this list, but then I watched ‘Ramona and Beezus’ the other night and knew I’d found the perfect fifth pick.  Honestly, it’s a movie for middle-graders (if not a younger age group) that’s a bit cheesy, but mostly full of heart and SO. MUCH. happiness that it’s become my go-to ‘happy place’ movie.  I want to hug it.  There’s lots of fun adventures and a sweet romance and a wedding-ending (those are the best).

What movies would you take a desert island?  Would y’all like a ‘TV show episode’ version of this post?

Eva

announcing the winner of the 200 followers giveaway!

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First of all, I wanted to say thank you (again) to everyone who comments, follows, and loves my blog.  You guys are all amazing and I really wish I had the means to be able to send every follower a little something.  However, since I don’t, I must announce the winner of this giveaway to be…

Faith Potts

Congratulations, Faith!  You’ll be getting an email from me shortly so that I can get your mailing address.

Thanks to everyone else who entered.  There will (hopefully) be more giveaways to come as this blog heads toward 300 followers, so keep those fingers crossed. 😉

Eva