Ponderings

New Things and Old Things

Isn’t it funny how you start off the year with new goals and new ideas and then halfway through, you’re in a totally different spot. There’s many reasons for this, one being outside life circumstances, but sometimes the Lord is simply calling to you and stirring your hearts in new ways.

That’s where I’ve been (as I’m sure you noticed with the lack of posting on both blogs). Part of it has been life (the summer was really busy – I bought myself a house for my 35th birthday. Yay for mortgages!! :)), but also the Lord whispering to my heart. A change of direction.

I promise the next line isn’t “I’m moving to Europe!” (Although, um…so game!), but a shift in my online writing. I’ve had two blogs for a while, but the past several months I haven’t been sure where I was going with each one. It didn’t seem like I should have two, but I still really enjoyed writing for each one. Did I just stop altogether? I admit, that’s where I was for several weeks, but I didn’t feel peace about that either.

I know it probably seems a bit dramatic to talk about blogs this way, but I truly wanted to be faithful to whatever the Lord was asking of me. So what’s the final verdict? One blog, but a combination of the two. Will I be blogging every day? Not quite. My goal is at least once a week and will be a variety of life posts and bookish posts. I’m figuring out other details (like my Inklings), but I’m ready for a change. I’m also slowly moving over popular posts from each blog to have in the archives, so you can still find them. Plus it’s always nice to have the reminders of early blogging days – sometimes it’s cringe worthy, but worth remembering. (Although true confession, sad to lose all the comments – there were some fun discussions!)

When I first started blogging back in 2012, my time and desire fit my blogging schedule. But, as life happens with new chapters, I don’t have the time (and no longer want to) spend several hours a week on blogging (how different my weekends are with a house. Grass Internet. Grass. It likes to grow). I loved the years when I did that – it was exciting starting and pursuing something I loved. I still love it and am forever thankful it opened up doors to the career I’m in now, but I’m no longer in a place to spend my nights and most weekends working on the blog. And that’s okay. I’m excited to still be in the blogging and bookish world, but at a pace that is healthy for where I’m at now.

I’ll still have my newsletter and of course I won’t stop reading and sharing about my favorite reads on other social channels in addition to blog posts, but I’m excited about this new direction.

I’d love to stay in touch! Here’s how to find me:

Sign up for the newsletter here
Website | Instagram | Facebook | Blog Facebook Page | Twitter | Goodreads  (just note any review prior to 2014-ish may have been during my “everyone gets 5 stars!!” stage 😉
Email: jamie @ musingsofjamie.com

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Author Interviews

4 Questions with Bestselling Author Steven James

(This interview is part of my 4 Questions Project, where I get the chance to chat with authors and tell stories of people, life, and adventure. Be sure to check out previous interviews here!)

Today I get to introduce y’all to the excellent and fabulous writer, Steven James! Not only do his books win awards, he’s a bestselling author. He writes books that hook you and have you reading as fast as you possibly can, because YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS. It’s not just me either! The King was the 2014 INSPY winner for Mystery/Thriller (be sure to check out the giveaway at the end). Anyway, I’m super excited he’s on the site and enjoy!

Steven James is the author of more than thirty books, including the critically acclaimed Bowers Files, an eight-book series of psychological thrillers which currently includes The Pawn, The Rook, The Knight, The Bishop,The Queen, and a prequel Opening Moves. The series has received three Christy Awards and numerous other honors.

4 Questions

1. What is something about your life right now that you would never imagined 5 years ago?
You’d think I would have anticipated the day when I had two girls in college, but thinking ahead has never been my strong suit. Career-wise, I never would’ve thought I’d have branched out into writing two other series besides my Patrick Bowers novels. It’s an amazing life, this writing gig, but my brain sometimes needs a vacation.

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
Hmm . . . That’s an interesting question. I don’t like to look over my shoulder and get mired in regrets—since there’s often not a whole lot we can really do about them. However, I’d say that when I was high school I had an interest in creative writing but never had a teacher who encouraged me to pursue it—perhaps the opposite. I never felt free to really express myself. Not to blame them—it was my own insecurities that bogged me down, but I’d say I would go back and write, regardless of what other people thought about that, and give my imagination the free rein it wanted so badly.

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
Honestly, the time I felt the most joy was the day I became a Christian back when I was in college. There have been lots of other amazing moments—stargazing while backpacking in the Wind River Range of Wyoming, seeing the look in my wife’s eyes when I proposed to her, being present when my daughters were born, and, yes, receiving the first printed copy of my first novel in the mail—but I believe people are spiritual beings and the day I realized that God had truly saved me from my own boneheaded choices and selfish motives was the best day of my life.

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
Live with both eyes open. Don’t ignore the suffering on our planet and close yourself off from the joy. It sounds a little self-evident to say it, but time is life and life is time. What you spend one on, you end up spending the other on. If you waste one, you’re wasting the other. So embrace the moments you have. Relish them. Life is fleeting. Hope is a gift and eternity is only a heartbeat away.

Be sure to connect with Steven James around the web!
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Thank you again so much Steven! I hope you guys enjoyed this as much as I did :).

Inklings

Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis | Inklings Series Discussion

(The Inklings Series is a monthly series featuring the works of my two favorites, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, or books about them. But I don’t want it to be just me chatting about these books, so that’s where y’all come in! I’ll announce the book at least four weeks in advance of when the discussion post will go live, so you have plenty of time to get the book and read it. Then, the following month, I’ll post a discussion post and let the fun begin!!)

Today is discussion day! Woot! We’re discussing C.S. Lewis’ last work, Till We Have Faces. He considered this his most mature work (a.k.a. favorite) and it was also written with his wife, Joy. Plus, I have always enjoyed Greek history (and the mythology that comes with it), so I have definitely been looking forward to Lewis’ retelling of Cupid and Psyche’s story.

Haunted by the myth of Cupid and Psyche throughout his life, C.S. Lewis wrote this, his last, extraordinary novel, to retell their story through the gaze of Psyche’s sister, Orual. Disfigured and embittered, Orual loves her younger sister to a fault and suffers deeply when she is sent away to Cupid, the God of the Mountain. Psyche is forbidden to look upon the god’s face, but is persuaded by her sister to do so; she is banished for her betrayal. Orual is left alone to grow in power but never in love, to wonder at the silence of the gods. Only at the end of her life, in visions of her lost beloved sister, will she hear an answer.

One of my first thoughts after finishing this book was how true it is that all of us long to love and be loved in return (and not just in the romantic Moulin Rouge sense). Both Orual and Psyche love fiercely and this tale is one of self-discovery and that love. The way Lewis chose to revise the story reminded me of Disney’s Cinderella vs. the movie Ever After. Did anyone else think that? Where in the original, both step sisters are terrible, but in a retold version one sister is good. Random, I know, but I may have just watched Ever After.

I thought the story worked incredibly well from Orual’s point of view.

“You, who read my book, judge.”

One thing she didn’t lack was honesty. She was always true to what she thought, did and why. In the second half, she is willing to admit her earlier faults and be the better person for it.

“Today I shall meet cruel men, cowards and liars, the envious and the drunken. They will be like that because they do not know what is good from what is bad.”

Plus, as always, I love the characters Lewis creates.
The King: Simply put: was a jerk. Why you ask? Well, he said this to his daughter: “And you goblin daughter…if you with that face can’t frighten the men away, it’s a wonder.” Then, when he heard about the sacrifice due, after finding out it wouldn’t be required of him, had this happen:

“What?” said the King. (And this is the greatest shame I have to tell of in my whole life) his face cleared. He was only a hair’s breadth from smiling. I had thought that he had seen the arrow pointed at Psyche all along, had been afraid for her, fighting for her. He had not thought of her at all, nor any of us.” Pg 55

So yeah, he was a fan of himself.

I loved Fox.

“I’d lose not only my throne but my life to save the Princess, of I were a King and a father.”

Such a feisty old man, yet fiercely loyal to those he loved. I think he’s character represents a lot of people in the world. Refusing to believe while alive, only to discover things that were true when you are dead (in this case the gods). It reminded me of the story in Luke 16, of the the Rich Man and Lazarus, where the Rich Man only discovered the truth after he died.

I was a big fan of Bardia too. He was the friend Orual needed, although it makes me sad that she loved him and for several reasons, that love couldn’t be returned the way she longed for. But it was the love of a true friend and he was faithful to the end (although according to his wife, maybe too faithful).

This leads me to Orual: don’t mess!
Here’s how Bardia described her: “Why, yes, it’s a pity about her face. But she’s a brave girl and honest. If a man was blind and she weren’t the King’s daughter she make him a good wife.”

While she didn’t follow through with this, this quote was drop this mic style to her selfish sister: “I put my face close up to hers and said very low but distinctly, “Redival, if there is one single hour when I am queen of Glome, or even mistress of this house, I’ll hang you by the thumbs at a slow fire till you die.”

While some of her actions may come into question (think almost killing herself to make a point to Psyche), it was always based in love. Much different from the jealous character of the original tale. It’s interesting to see her character in the second half, from finding part of Ungit in herself, to the discovery and trial of all things with Psyche (and even becoming her). With each new “task” you see her develop more and more, taking on the role of a good Queen who earned respect from her subjects and surrounding kingdom. I enjoyed Lewis’ use of the veil as well. It gave her strength she didn’t have before.

Alright, here’s some more questions I’d love to have your thoughts on!

  • Which part did you prefer? The second half was a bit harder to read. While I enjoyed it, it wasn’t as clear as to what was happening, mainly when it came to Psyche (I had to make sure I understood all that happened, since I didn’t expect that). But I enjoyed her accusation against the gods – in that she realizes her true reason for being angry and why she is finally able to come before them (“They cannot meet us face to face, until we have faces”).
  • While this is a myth, did you see any themes in Christianity? (Lewis started this when he was an atheist, but finished after his conversion).
  • Who was your favorite character?

I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes:

“Not that kind of longing. It was when I was happiest that I longed most. It was on happy days when we were up there on the hills, the three of us, with the wind and the sunshine… Where you couldn’t see Glome or the palace. Do you remember? The color and the smell, and looking across at the Grey mountain in the distance? And because it was so beautiful, it set me longing, always longing. Somewhere else there must be more of it… I felt like a bird in a cage when the other birds of its kind were flying home.”

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and thanks for joining in!

Where to buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christian Books

Inklings

The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien | The Inklings Series

I’m so excited for another Inklings post! Today we’re diving into one of Tolkien’s sagas of Middle Earth, but before we do, since this is a lesser read work, I want to officially warn you that there shall be many o’ spoilers ahead, so please no hollerin at me if you feel jipped! And I will say it’s very much worth reading!

First things first. The story was not at all, I mean, AT ALL what I expected. Being used to epic heroes and characters you love, it was an interesting twist to read a tale of woe and tragedy. My blogging friend Wesley may have said it best: it was like an episode of Game of Thrones. I don’t watch the show, but I knew exactly what she meant. People dying, curses thrown down and oh yeah, PEOPLE DYING. While it was very different, I still kinda liked it. It definitely evoked emotion and it expanded the Middle Earth universe in a different kind of way. Tolkien knows how to write a story that draws you in and this one most definitely did (you know, after the first few chapters of getting into the details and Middle Earth vibe), even if it ended rather tragic.

Random sidenote: If you read the intro, you may have seen this, but I loved how Tolkien himself described The Silmarillion (since it’s one of my favorites): Tolkien said of the tale of Beren and Luthien: “the chief of the stories of The Silmarillion” and “the story is (I think a beautiful and powerful) heroic-fairy-romance…” This makes me want to read it all over again!

Random Fun Facts and Thoughts

  • Middle earth was once called the Great Lands and rests between the seas of the east and west.
  • Lembas bread! Túrin the first man to eat it. Nom! Nom! I feel geekyishly cool knowing that fact.
  • The whole time I kept thinking donde esta Hùrin? Oh wait…he was released to find his family destroyed and his wife die in his arms.
  • One of Tùrin’s names, Turambar (Master of Doom) was such a fitting name.

Favorite Quote: “I do but follow my trade, which is Orc-slaying.  I have no idea why, but it made me smile. I’m adding it to my resume.

Thoughts of Characters

Morgoth: Why hello satan! He plays dirty. Tolkien has such a way of epitomizing such things in characters. In Morgoth’s case? Pure Evil. This was a great quote about him as well: “Neither are you the most mighty; for you have spent your strength upon yourself and wasted it in your own emptiness.”

Andróg and his band of outlaws: I had flashbacks to last season on The Walking Dead and the loonies that Rick/Daryl/Michonne and Carl took care of. But they definitely redeemed themselves. Like Andróg? Times 50!

Túrin: I gotta admit, overall I wasn’t a huge fan of him. It doesn’t help that I had Aragorn on my mind. Early on, he was described as this: “…he learned to speak early and was slow to forget injustice or mockery; but the fire of his father was also in him, and he could be sudden and fierce. Yet he was quick to pity, and the hurts or sadness of living things might move him to tears…” His arrogance seemed to blind him (like from the true evil of Morgoth’s curse), but his tale is a most interesting one.

Beleg: He was such a true true friend! Like Samwise. He was probably my favorite of the book. I love the ideas and ways Tolkien displays friendship. Such strong and amazing themes. But what happens to him? HE DIES.

“Thus ended Beleg’s Strongbow, truest of friends, greatest in skill of all that harboured in the woods of Beleriand in the Elder Days, at the hands of him whom he most loved; and the grief was graven on the face of Túrin and never faded.”

Another great friend? Brandir. Too bad our buddy Túrin accidentally kills him as well. Cool.

Mîm: Shady McShady.

Niënor: I felt bad for her. I’ve decided those are my final feelings. When she finally entered the scene grown up, I thought her fate would liken to Éowyn or Arwen, but no. She did not. She died. By jumping off a cliff into raging rapids.

“Mourning you named me, but I will not mourn alone, for father, brother, and mother. But of these you only have I known, and above all do I love. And nothing that you fear nor do I.” At first I was excited to finally see more of her, but after everything that happened, homegirl, you should have stayed.

Glaurung the Dragon: He is evil. This quote is one of many examples. “The neighing of the horses and the cries of the riders came to the ears of Glaurung; and he was well pleased.” His love of destroying humanity was just creepy.

THINGS I NEED TO TALK ABOUT!

  • Remember that one time Túrin and Niënor, GOT BLOODIED MARRIED?? I mean WHA?? I thought I read it wrong or had their names mixed up. Nope. That sealed the deal that this story was 100% a tale of a cursed family. Tolkien wasn’t lying about Morgoth. Then when she finds out the truth, she jumps off a cliff and he kills himself with his sword. Twisted Morgoth. Twisted.
  • Oh and she was pregnant.

“To Brethil they brought their dark doom’s shadow. Here their doom has fallen, and of grief this land shall never again be free.”

Alright let’s discuss!

  1. How would you rank Túrin against the other men heroes of Middle Earth history?
  2. Did this book meet your expectations?
  3. I need to brush up on my Middle Earth history, but when does Morgoth get the boot?
  4. Since friendship plays such a major role, what’s one of your favorites in Tolkien lore?

The more I read of Tolkien and his tales of battles with men, the more I see how his WWI experience influenced his writings. I cannot fathom the horrors of surviving battle, but Tolkien’s tales pay homage to the brotherhood bonded in battle.

In case you missed the last announcement, we’ll be reading Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis next. The discussion is set for July 16, 2014. Hope to have you join us!

Bookish Radness

My Top 8 All-Time Favorite Fiction Reads

Do I dare even tackle such a list? Now before you think there’s really only eight favorites on my list, I just have to say this is me we’re chatting about! But here’s a start of some novels that have held a place in my heart for at least 10 years. You know it’s solid if it’s remained on the list for at least a decade.

Mark of the Lion Series | Francine Rivers: If you ask me for a book recommendation, this will always be the first series I recommend. Looking for a biography of the 13th President? Read Mark of the Lion. Oh, you want a story about London society after 1912? I think the story of Marcus and Hadassah is just what you need. Just kidding, I’d give you a legit recommendation, but I don’t think I can put into words how amazing this series is. If I ever meet Francine Rivers, I’m just going to hug and thank her for this book. I’ve probably read it 10 times and I only see that number increasing through the years.

Just know it’s a three book series. I did not know this and when the first book ended, I texted my friend who recommended it asking why she would think to suggest a book that just RIPPED OUT MY SOUL. Yep, my reaction was equivalent to all caps plus a bag of chips and toss in some fireworks.

I own a hard copy and the kindle version so I can read it at anytime. I also read it two weeks after I read it for the first time because it’s just that amazing. If I could only have one series the rest of my life, this would be it. (I need to confess, I only read this about 5 years ago, but I’ve read it 10+ times, so I still added it to the list.)

Dracula | Bram Stoker: Vampires? Wha? Let’s just clear things up by saying it is nothing like modern day vampire shenanigans. No, this is a classic that so fantastically demonstrates battling such evil. I’m reminded that in the fight against evil, you will battle dark forces, you will lose people, you will want to quit, but you won’t. The world will be a better place because you didn’t. I haven’t read this one in a few years, but man, what a book! My e-reader friends, it’s free, so no excuses!

Redeeming Love | Francine Rivers: That sneaky, sneaky Rivers lady. Without knowing how it happens, after reading her stories, you’re forever connected to the characters she creates and wish you could meet these people in real life. Redeeming Love was also the first Christian Fiction book I read back when I was in college. I remember my friend Lindsay, from one of my Comm classes during my freshman year (folks, I never remember details, so the fact that I remember the class, the friend and the year should tell you something ;), gave me her copy to borrow and I had the chance to read it over Thanksgiving and I devoured that sucker in about two minutes flat.

Please, read this book if you haven’t yet (which I need to point out that every monthly top seller list Lifeway releases, Redeeming Love is on it. I jest not. And it’s nearly 25 years old. In May, Francine Rivers not only had her latest (which was fantastic, see my review here), but Redeeming Love as well. P.S. IT HAS IT’S OWN WIKIPEDIA PAGE. Need I say more?

The Land I Lost: Adventures of a Boy in Vietnam | Huynh Quang Nhuong: This is one of the first books I vividly remember reading. I read through it so many times, I’ve lost count. Since growing up in Vietnam was so vastly different from growing up in my parent’s house in Orange County, California, I was so fascinated by this man’s life. Every time I read this book I wanted to do one thing: Go on an epic adventure. If my mom ever asks why I’m always fixin to do something crazy, it’s because I grew up on stories like these. It was also my Mama who gave it to me 🙂

Fire By Night | Lynn Austin: Sigh….just thinking about this book makes me want to re-read it. I think I might too. It’s been a while since I’ve encountered Dr. McGrath and Julia, so I think this summer I might change that. Not only do I love Julia’s character (and connect with her), I adore Dr. McGrath. The whole series is enjoyable, but this one shines far greater than the other two. Plus it’s Civil War (and still my favorite Civil War fiction novel), so win with that.

The Giver | Lois Lowry: I’ve talked about this one the blog enough, so I’ll keep it short. Without pain, one would never know the true depth of happiness, beauty and love. Lowry so beautifully captures this. Plus it’s coming out in the movies soon!!

The Harry Potter Series | J.K. Rowling: Duh.

To Kill a Mockingbird | Harper Lee: This was one of those books I actually liked in high school and understood at the age of 16 why it was such an important piece of literature. It’s beautifully written, it’s an amazing story and Atticus Finch is one of the all-time greatest heroes in literature.

You might be wondering about the books I talk about every 27 seconds and why they aren’t on this list. Well, I figured it was a given that anything Narnia/Lewis or Middle Earth/Tolkien related are in their own category of greatest all-time anything. I mean, I have a monthly series about them internet, so of course they are my favorite of favorites. (If you want to join in The Inklings series, check it out here)

Alright, there’s the fiction list! I feel I can breathe a little easier now ;). What do you think? What are some of your favorites to add?

Bookish Radness

The 10 Step Thought Process of A Booknerd

People often ask why someone with so many books keeps buying them. Maybe a look into my thought process will help explain it. 😉

Step 1: No, I won’t buy it. I have 387 books in my TBR pile. So no. I don’t need another book.

Step 2: Wait…it’s on sale? Well, maybe I’ll think about it…..NO! I won’t do it. I’m walking away from the computer.

Step 3: Why won’t my feet move?

Step 4: Alright, I’ll comprise Self. If I finish at least two books this week, I can come back and get it.

Step 5: I don’t know, I’m here and ready to go…I don’t want to be accused of wasting precious time.

Step 6: I need to make a decision. I guess I’ll check Twitter while I’m pondering this.

Step 7: Dash it! Look at all these glowing reviews from my blogging friends! Who am I not listen to their advice? They’re my friends!

Step 8: If I buy it, I’m supporting someone’s livelihood. That makes me a contributor to the betterment of the world. How can I say no to that? I’m not a cruel or unloving person.

Step 9: Plus, the cover looks so pretty and the author looks nice. I like nice people.

Step 10: And when it comes down to it, what’s one more book right? Here we go then! Time to “Confirm Purchase!”

There you have it. That’s why us readers can’t stop buying books.

What else can I say?
Author Interviews

4 Question With Author Lori Benton

(This interview is part of my 4 Questions Project, where I get the chance to chat with authors and tell stories of people, life, and adventure. Be sure to check out previous interviews here!)

It’s been much too long since a 4 Questions has appeared on the blog. I’m excited not only to end the drought, but to have Lori Benton, author of Burning Sky (which is an INSPY shortlist pick for the debut category!) and The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, join me on the blog! I’ve heard so much about her latest and I can’t wait to read it. If you haven’t had a chance to read Lori’s book, I highly recommend it!

Lori Benton, author of the acclaimed Burning Sky, was raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American and family history going back three hundred years. Her novels transport readers to the 18th century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history. When she isn’t writing, Lori enjoys exploring beautiful Oregon with her husband.

1. What is something about your life right now that you would never have imagined 5 years ago?
Five years ago I would never have imagined I’d be signing my second book contract with my dream publisher, WaterBrook Press. God has been abundantly gracious and kind to have nurtured the dream of writing stories, which He planted in my nine-year-old heart, for the thirty-five years it took to see one of those stories published and shared with readers.

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
There are so many things I’d go back and do differently, mostly small things, but a few big decisions…but what would change them all from bad choices to better? One thing. If only I’d walked more closely with the Lord as a young person, taking seriously my relationship with Him and the reasons why He hates sin (He hates it because it’s destructive and wounding to us, no matter how fun or easy it appears at the time), and make better choices in all those circumstances, big and small. But most of all, I’d walk more closely with Him to enjoy at a younger age the intimacy I experience with Him now, an intimacy I hope and expect will only continue to deepen. Still, He is gracious, and works all things—even my worst decisions and actions—for good. How so? For one thing, I get to weave all those lessons I learned the hard way into my stories.

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
Again there are many, because we serve a God who delights in blessing His children. Here’s one: the December day in 2011 I sat in a room full of relatives, but over in the corner with my Dad at the table (who was visiting from out of state, and who I hadn’t seen for two years), and told him that after more than half a lifetime of trying I had just been offered a book contract with WaterBrook Press. Then I got to witness him stand up and, once he had the room’s attention, proudly share my good news with the rest of my aunts, uncles, and other extended relations. My Dad passed into heaven almost two years from that day (Dec 22, 2013), so that will always be a cherished memory for me.

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
Whatever changes may come in your lifetime to the way life is lived, the God of the bible never changes. He is a rock in a shifting sea. He is an anchor in any storm. He is peace amidst chaos. He is eternal perspective against the tyranny of the urgent and overwhelming now. Seek Him first, and anything else you need, any blessing or provision or dream or hope, will be added to you.

Thank you so much for stopping by Lori! So glad to have you here on Books and Beverages!! If y’all haven’t, be sure to connect with Lori online:

 | Facebook | Website |

Bookish Radness, Movie Musings

8 of the Best and Worst Movie Adaptations

There’s something that happens to all book nerds when they hear the rumors are true and their favorite book is coming to the big screen. First there’s absolute excitement.

Then, utter terror. Because WHAT IF THEY RUIN THE BOOK FOR ALL ETERNITY?? Like when you hear about terrible casting or who was chosen to direct it and all you can say is this:

These types of details can ruin a book nerd’s life folks. Dramatic? Yep. But no less true. So today is a list of movies gone right and movies gone…well..those I don’t speak of.

(Some of) The Best

The Client (or any Grisham novel really): The casting on this was phenomenal, it’s an excellent read and action packed. Oh and Mark Sway (be sure to say that in a very Southern accent). Seriously Tommy Lee Jones is so fantastic in this one, as is Susan Sarandon. I think I might need to stop writing and go watch it. I also loved The Pelican Brief, but that could be more based on the fact that it stars Denzel Washington and well, need I say more?

Harry Potter: Besides capturing my beloved characters so well, I thought the movies did an excellent job of being light-hearted in the beginning and then moving to the deeper and darker storyline as it went on. Of course there were a couple artistic additions to the movie, but nothing that drastically shifted it from the storyline. Although I’m still angry they had Dumbledore hollerin at Harry in the Goblet of Fire. Did not happen in the book people!

Lord of the Rings: The trilogy did not disappoint. I mean where do I even start? Where details left out? Of course. But have you read LOTR? We’d still be watching them if they included everything. But as with Potter, they did a good job with artistic license.

Pride and Prejudice: I know, there was a lot of details left out, but I added it because I love the movie a bunch and they did a fabulous job capturing the characters and their personalities with the casting. Who doesn’t love Darcy? Or want to punch Lydia? Anyone else annoyed beyond measure by Mrs. Bennett?

I also have to admit I’m not a huge fan of the BBC version. Mr. Collins in that version CREEPS ME OUT. Like I could barely handle any scene he was in. I really should be putting Emma on this list, because that one was pretty much word for word.

Catching Fire: Man oh man, did the second movie vastly improve from the first. I mean BY LEAPS AND BOUNDS. Not in the acting or special effects (I thought those were great in the first movie), but following the storyline. Can we chat about how much I cried my eyes out when they were in Rue’s district???? My oh my. Many friends who haven’t read the books understood a lot more after watching the second movie. So yes!! I can’t wait for the final book to be made into a movie!!

C- Category

The Hunger Games: Did I just write that? Especially after just gushing over the second film? I did. But hear this first – I like the movies and I’m counting down the days until the next one. But if we’re all being honest, they left out some major details. If you didn’t read the book, I’m pretty sure the mine explosion (shown as an elevator going down and then white smoke) was totally random. Plus, I’m still angry about the scene after it was announced two winners from the same district could win if they both survive. In the book, this is the moment you really feel and see that Katniss cares for Peeta. She literally YELLS OUT HIS NAME. The movie? A whisper. I shouldn’t be so angry, but y’all I AM. They also play up Team Gale/Team Peeta. LAME. As you can see from the previous category, they do much better with Catching Fire (although QUIT IT WITH GALE PEOPLE).

(Some of) The Worst

The Bourne Identity: My first thought after finishing the first movie (I loved the books) was “Did we read the same story?” While the movie series itself is entertaining and I enjoy each one they release, they get an F- for following the book. At least they got his name right.

Eragon: I hope they redo this one. So then we can all act like the first release didn’t happen. Such a great series, yet the movie…just no. No no. No. It didn’t work. Which is a bummer because a lot of the casting was fabulous. John Malkovich (sidenote: If you haven’t seen Red, you need to rent it/download it/amazon it immediately. He is reason alone to watch that movie), Jeremy Irons…you can’t go wrong with names like that. But, as much as it hurts to say, they did.

Alright, it’s your turn friends. Add your two cents with favorites and not so much favorites! Did I get mine right?

Bookish Radness

E-Reader vs. Paperback…Who Wins?

Ah yes, the great debate among readers around the world! We don’t play in the book world either folks. There are some strong opinions about this matter. There are those who refuse to even look in the direction of an e-reader and there’s some who are waving good bye to the paperback without even a backward glance. I figured it was about time to bring the discussion to Books and Beverages. Are you ready?

Alright…Let’s do this.

Please don’t judge that those books are against the wall on the floor. I’m waiting for the Beast to come along and build my stinkin library. Geez..how long does a girl have to wait for such things?

1. Logistics
I try to travel as much as I can. I realize this isn’t shocking to most of you. If there’s a plane nearby I need to be on it. My nieces live in a different state, so I go through withdrawals rather often. For frequent fliers, the Kindle is like book manna from heaven. I remember the days of stuffing three books in my carry-on and you know how awesome those days were? Negative 800. Plus the FDA finally figured out that keeping my kindle on during take off won’t bring down the plane, so I can read the whole ride through.

I can also read at night without much fuss because I don’t have to deal with lights. Unless they bring back The Clapper, then the kindle gets major points for this. Also, this might seem funny, but with a kindle, large novels don’t seem as daunting in e-reader form. That could just be a Jamie thing though.

Another key point? If I finish a book that ends on a cliffhanger, I can download the next book immediately.

Books? The battery doesn’t die (although Kindles have some pretty awesome battery life). Also, when I’m perusing the shelves for a book, hard copies are much easier to go through (and I can look at pretty colors/covers) then to scroll through a list of hundreds (no lie) of books on my Kindle. But…

…still gotta give the edge to the Kindle.

Kindle 1 | Paperback 0

2. Nostalgia
There’s no nostalgia connected with a kindle. I gave away my first one without a second look. Books? I still have the books I read when I was 8.

Kindle 0 | Paperback 1

3. Cost
Oooo…this one is pretty close. While the initial investment of an e-reader (whether iPad or Kindle) is a bit more than any book out there, if you have a smartphone you can download the app for free. Then those sneaky E-specials. If you aren’t careful, you’ll download 87 books and not even know how you got there.

But books can be cheap too. Have you seen some of the deals at Barnes and Noble these days? Plus for new releases, the book cost is pretty darn close to the e-copy price. But let’s be real, the Kindle edges the paperback out.

Kindle 1 | Paperback 0

4. Appeal
Which one is more pretty? You might think this is an easy one. But what if I don’t like the cover? With a kindle, all people see is a pretty purple cover. But when there’s a beautiful cover? I want the world to know! Plus I love coming across people reading books I love and striking up conversations. This just happened on a flight last month. The lady next to me was reading a Francine Rivers’ novel, so in my head we instantly became best friends. Anyway, we ended up chatting for a good 30 minutes and it was fantastic!

Kindle 0 | Paperback 1

5. Benefits
You know what some of my favorite books are in my library? The ones signed by the author. Can they sign the back of your Kindle or iPad? Sure! But that would be lame. And if I lose a book? I’d be slightly saddened. Lose my Kindle? I’d take a day off to recover (that may have been slightly exaggerated).

Oh, but the ease of a kindle!! I can carry it with me wherever I go, so really I can read for 5 minutes at the grocery store line or fill in those never ending waiting room moments. The little guy is a life saver. And I simply can’t ignore the number of authors I’ve been willing to try and feel in love with their style because of a free e-book.

Kindle 1 | Paperback 0

Time to tally up!!! And the final score is…..

Kindle 3 | Paperback 2

You know, can’t say I’m surprised, the Kindle does work a bit better for me. But I love them both and plan on keeping both of them for quite some time. P.S. I know there are plenty of quality e-readers out there, I just happen to be a fan of the Kindle.

How about you guys? What’s your preference? Who wins the great debate for you?! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Bookish Radness

Why I Write About Books and Bookish Things

I could make this blog post rather short by answering with a simple “why not blog about books?” response, but that wouldn’t be as much fun! So without further ado, here’s the top five reasons I write about all things books!

1. Free books: Getting free books in exchange for my honest reviews is the same thing as getting paid for me. Why? The money I might make from it (if publishers did that, but they don’t. Something about it being illegal..whatevs), would go on books anyway, so it all equals out in the end. But for real, I love it. Whenever I get the monthly email from Bethany House Publishing or Litfuse for upcoming releases to request, it’s a little something like STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOIN’, CAUSE I’M ABOUT TO RUIN.. you bet that email always gets the quickest response. So yeah, free books make me happy.

Free books? Yeeeeaaahhh!

2. I can say I use my college degree. I paid beacuop for my education*, so I count this type of writing as journalism, thus putting those years to work. I do love writing though, even if it’s not in the “traditional” sense, so thank you world wide web and WordPress for making that a possibility.

3. I get to act like I’m friends with my favorite authors. Thanks to social media and the internet it’s so easy to connect with authors! And if they respond to a tweet or something on Facebook, y’all I feel like I’m famous. But if I ever had the chance to actually meet them in person, we all know what would happen

4. The community. Oh, you love books? You know we’re best friends now right? Just like I love talking sports, I love talking books. Yes please!

So yeah, connecting with fellow bloggers and readers and such for the sole purpose of sharing our love of literature…All day baby..all day!

5. It makes my heart happy. When someone tells me they read a book I recommended and loved it – I feel like my life mission is complete.

You like the book I recommended????

I love the power of story, so sharing it and people getting something from it is such a blessing. I know, I’m a cheese ball.

And if this blog ever gets me a job? Y’all..I will pass.out.

How about you? Do you blog? If it’s about books or cats (no judgement) or whatever, I’d love to know your heart behind it! And if you don’t blog, but follow along, I’d love to hear some of your favorite blogs!

*While an education at Azusa Pacific was rather costly I wouldn’t trade those years for anything!