Saturday, December 19, 2015

My Top Ten Books of 2015

Christmas is right around the corner. So is New Years. Because of that, I thought maybe I should drop by and give you the best books I read in the year of 2015...

10. Where Courage Calls by Janette Oke

One of the best I've read from Mrs. Oke. This book had little pieces of wisdom I enjoyed stumbling upon. And that Christmas scene with Edward and the scarf? Yeah, that was fun.


9. Secret of the Lost Settlement by John J. Horn

I reread this in August, I think. I was again brought to tears and impressed by the amazing message. It was gritty, adventurous, heart-pounding, and even humorous in rare moments.


8. The Island Queen by R.M. Ballantyne

When three ship-wrecked siblings end up on an island that's deserted, more castaways show up, and a 'government' forms, you're in for a fun ride! I liked this book a lot - it's one of the best of Ballantyne's! It was very humorous and lots of fun! I smiled through almost a whole chapter. Yup. That happened. ;)


7. Becoming Nikki by Ashley Elliot

This book was really cool! The main characters were, interestingly enough, brother and sister. They're broken relationship needs mending - little do they think that a horrible accident will become the starting point. I really enjoyed the story and some of the characters. It was funny, touching, and sweet.


6. The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

Man, this book. I cried multiple times. I saw World War II in a whole new light - it changed my perspective on the time. The Hiding Place was highly interesting, engaging, touching, and had such a great message.


5. The Heart of Arcrea by Nicole Sager

Surprisingly, this one made it on the list. I say surprisingly because as I read each book in the Arcrean Conquest series, the one I had just finished became my favorite Arcrean book. However, after months of not really thinking about the books, I thought about them again and ended up realizing that the first novel in the series, The Heart of Arcrea, was, honestly, the best. We're introduced to fun characters and taken along a sometimes agonizing but interesting and life-changing journey. I loved the way that Druet, the hero of the tale, followed God's leading. Not many books have that in it, and I thought it was really cool. Plus, it's fantasy - a really fun, non-magical fantasy in a land that is seriously unique. You won't forget it.


4. Fighting the Flames: A Tale of the London Fire Brigade by R.M. Ballantyne

A book about the London Fire Brigade in the mid-1800s? How cool is that!? I really enjoyed reading this. I loved the story and Willie Willders, one of the main characters. It was interesting and fun and one of the best by Ballantyne I've read.



3. Millie's Steadfast Love by Martha Finley

Granted, I did re-read this one, (okay, okay! And the one below...), but I loved it all over again. The characters and the story are so fun. I adore this book. The Millie Keith series holds a special place on my ever burgeoning bookshelves.


2. Brothers at Arms: Treasure and Treachery in the Amazon by John J. Horn

This book has been one of my favorite novels for a few years now. It still holds a very special place in my heart and is one of the best books I have read to date. Fun, heart-pounding adventure, charming characters, exotic locations... It's incredibly fun, and I'm so looking forward to rereading it AGAIN with my younger brother.

1. To Get to You by Joanne Bischoff

This book is all about redemption, grace, and second chances. Though the message isn't forced, it seeps into the crevasses of the story (and your heart). I enjoyed it a lot! The characters were fun, and the whole road-trip/broken-son-and-father-relationship story was fantastic and really well done. Intertwined was an adorable romance between the unlikely hero and the homeschooled heroine. (Yes, she's homeschooled.) Super cute.


And theeeeeeeere you have it! The top ten books that I read this year. Totally check 'em all out, and totally let me know if you do. (Or if you've already read any of the above books, and if you liked them as much as I did!) ;)

They all come recommended (and I've reviewed most of them too. Either here, on my blog, or on Goodreads.)

That's all for now, but be on the lookout for another 'Top Ten' post!

Merry Christmas!

~Micaiah K.~

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

To Get to You (Book Review)

To Get to You
By: Joanna Bischof
Rating: 5 stars
Ages: maybe 13 and up (read aloud), and 15 and up (reading by yourself)

To get to the girl he loves, Riley Kane must head off on a road trip with the father he never knew. Then pray for a miracle.

Most teens would love to have a pro surfer for a dad. Just not Riley. Abandoned as a kid, he hates the sound of the ocean and the man who gave himself to it.

When the eighteen-year-old learns that his best friend is stranded at a New Mexico hospital as her father fights for his life, Riley hits the highway to head east. But when his Jeep breaks down before he even leaves California, he must rely on the one man he despises to get to the girl who needs him the most. And when it comes to the surfer with the Volkswagen van and dog-eared map, a thousand miles may–or may not–be enough to heal the past.

A story of new beginnings and second chances.

To Get to You is all about grace and redemption and second-chances. It's filled with fun moments that will make you grin. It was well done, highly enjoyable, and realistic. The message seeped into the crevasses of the story and was beautiful. Oh, I loved this book! It was so sweet.

The road-trip, father-son relationship, Hawaii/surfing elements all drew me to this book. Those things seemed like they'd contribute to a really engaging, lovable story. And they did. My guess was correct-a-mundo. ;)

Riley Kane's point of view in itself is engaging too. Joanne never switched to another POV - but she didn't need to. She showed you all of the characters' emotions (other than Riley's), and didn't need their POV to do so. 

And Riley was fun. I mean, he was SO completely different than any other hero that I've encountered! Yup, he wears skull shirts sometimes and is trying desperately to make his mohawk grow out faster - but what made him great is that, despite all of his seemingly flawed points, inside he's hurting and he's broken, but he's letting God change that. He's becoming a new person on the inside. He's a work-in-progress (you gotta love him). But aren't we all?

OKAY. Becca. She's really cute. She's homeschooled, and she wears long skirts, and she lives with her family - and loves it. Honestly, I really like the way that she and Riley could be considered opposites, but they fall for each other and  are so good for each other. Becca believes in Riley the entire time - no matter what he tells her about himself, she's always open and she accepts him as he truly is. Super sweet.

The romance was kinda adorable. I really love the opening scenes. COME ON! Snowy night, tree lot, Christmas music...Riley grudgingly being a gentleman and helping Becca with the tree? SO CUTE and so well-written. Descriptions were fantastic. And I loved the part where Riley accidentally says something on a message to Becca (I can't reveal what that something is because it's completely fun and I don't want to spoil it for anybody) and then realizes what he just said. <3 

Saul? Perfect addition to the road trip - thank you, Joanne, for creating a goofy Mexican character that loves his audio book. He was great.

Descriptions, writing style, characters... Joanne hit a home run. This book is amazing. I loved it. And to top it all off, my mom read it to me and my siblings in one day. All in a day. And, just to warn you, food is mentioned quite frequently. (So don't read this book while fasting. Which is...yeah...what my family and I did. THOSE DESCRIPTIONS! It's hilarious though, because I've never noticed the mention of food so much in a book. However...we survived.)

The whole message was great. What can I say? I love books that have bold messages. And this one was very well written and touching. Relationships are healed, people are changed.... And it's all set in a completely fun location, with fun happenings, great characters, and a great plot. 

Overall, this story will touch you. It's really, really good. And it comes recommended (I hope that was obvious!) ;) 

Looking forward to book #2... 

Buy To Get to You on Amazon, or on Barnes and Noble.Visit Joanne Bischof at her website, her GoodReads, her blog, or her Twitter

Saturday, December 5, 2015

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."

GUYS! It's Jane Austen tag! And all of you reading this right now...consider yourself nominated. Yup. You are tagged to do this on your own blog.

So, to start off, I'll say that I haven't read many of Miss Austen's books. Or watched a bunch of the movies. I think I've seen two versions of Pride and Prejudice, the 2009 edition of Emma, and the newest version of Persuasion. And I've read Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Persuasion (which was my favorite of her novels so far). I guess that's not too bad...but I also don't think I can call myself an avid fan. I'll be answering all the below questions with those books and movies in mind.

Nontheless, I've decided to do this post. (Mostly 'cause I like Pride and Prejudice.)

I've added a few questions of my own making that were not originally in the tag, and there weren't any rules on the blog I got this from about this tag, so here goes...

On a scale of 1 to 10, how much of a Jane Austen fan do you consider yourself?

Oh, gosh...maybe a three or four? As I mentioned above, I've only read three of her books and seen four of the movies. Plus, I mostly just really like Pride and Prejudice. ;)

Talk about awkward. ;)
If "they" would make a new Jane Austen Movie, and you would be able to be cast in it, which Jane Austen character would you most like to play?

Elizabeth or her sister, Jane. I like both of those characters! I think I'm a little like Jane, but probably not strikingly so.

Is there any felicity in the world superior to a walk?

Absolutely! Like listening to music, or rock climbing, or hiking in the snow... Many things are superior to walking. ;)

Who's your favourite Jane Austen 'villain'? (As in 'villain' meaning 'the bad guy.')

Thinking about it, I realize that most of Jane Austen's villains are similar. But I must say Willoughby - not that I really liked him or anything, but I felt a twinge of compassion for him in the end of Sense and Sensibility. And Mr. Wickham wasn't extremely dimensional. Neither was Mr. Elliot. And I'm really not sure who was supposed to be the bad guy in Emma. Maybe there just wasn't one...?

Is he the bad guy?
Or is it him?

What/Who introduced you to Jane Austen?

My sister, Ashley. I think we watched a lesser-known version of Pride and Prejudice first, and then we watched the 2005 version together. I found the first version we watched really drawn out and rather boring. I know the 2005 movie isn't as close to the book as some other editions, but I still really enjoy it. It's not so very different. ;)

Did you love/enjoy Jane Austen immediately, or has there been a time when you hated (um, prejudged) it?

I didn't at first, because I watched a really boring version of Pride and Prejudice, but then I fell in love with the 2005 movie. And now I've read several of her books, Persuasion being the best.

(What can I say? The whole time I was reading Pride and Prejudice I was thinking of moments in the movie.... That's also probably the reason why I don't remember a whole lot about the book. It's kind of a blur.)

Who, in your opinion, is the funniest Jane Austen character?

Mr. Collins, the Bennetts' cousin. He's annoying, but funnily so.

Do you quote Jane Austen randomly in public?

Emma and Mr. Knightley
Never. Just to my siblings. ;) Actually, I don't think I quote Jane Austen... But we randomly quote movies of all different sorts whenever we feel like it. Mostly just my younger brother and I, though. It's quite fun, because we've done it (and do it) so much that we can now finish the quote the other started. ;)

(He has also memorized a quote from my favorite book, which he hasn't read yet.)

Are children allowed to eat cake on weddings?


What is your reaction when you hear that an aquaintance (e.g. A lady at Church) of yours loves Jane Austen?

I've never had this happen, so I can't say. I would probably wonder what movie and character is her favorite. ('Cause I'm like that. Into details and such.) ;)

Who writes better letters, Mr. Darcy or Captain Wentworth? (If you forgot what the letters were, shame on you. Instead, tell me if you prefer strawberries to chocolate or not.)

I remember, indeed. Okay, so I love Mr. Darcy, but Captain Wentworth totally wins this one. His letter is pretty sweet. (It's also not a slightly bitter explanation of unfortunate events.)

Captain Wentworth and Anne

Which Jane Austen heroine do you relate the least to?

Of the ones I know, probably Anne Elliott from Persuasion. She's so very composed. I don't think I would act the way she did around Captain Wentworth if I were her! Her situation was slightly horrible and very, very uncomfortable. But maybe I could. Her troubles would honestly be devastating though. Especially when she's watching Captain Wentworth spend so much time with her relatives (the girls!) and thinking he's falling for one. That would just be...SO sad.

What's your favourite Jane Austen house (from one of the movies)?


From the movies I've seen, I guess Emma's in the 2009 version, or Mr. Darcy's in the 2005 version. (I really like the outside of his... So much space! Side note: I really like the scene when Elizabeth pulls up to Mr. Darcy's house in the carriage with her aunt and uncle. Her face is funny. I can imagine her thinking This could have been MY home. I could have lived here! And this is after she so rudely rejected him.)

What's your favourite Jane Austen dress (from one of the movies)?

Honestly...I don't really know! I haven't seen many dresses in the movies that I've really liked, but perhaps one of Emma's. (2009)

Can you turn off lit candles with your fingers? (Not sure what's goin' on with this question...)

Sure, I can. I've done it (but I don't really care to).

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice

Who's your favorite heroine of Jane Austen's?

Elizabeth Bennett!


Mr. Darcy. I like Captian Wentworth and Mr. Knightley too though.

Favorite book and movie?

For the book, I think Persuasion. And then the 2005 Pride and Prejudice, o' course.

What character do you least like?

I think Lydia tops all in horrible-ness.

Well, that's it! To wrap...

Merry Christmas!

We can finally say that again! ;)

What Jane Austen book or movie is your favorite? Are you a fan? Do you like the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice?