Bookish Radness

10 + A Few Books For Your Summer Reading

(So I originally posted this last year, but since life is life, I haven’t had a chance to put together a new list. Instead I added a few to this one. With summer coming though, didn’t want y’all to miss out on any possible new reads!)

It’s almost Summer time!! I’m not sure how I’ll handle summer weather that isn’t the same temperature as the surface of the sun, but I think I’ll manage. I moved mid-August last year and I had to wear a light sweater at night. I still don’t compute that one, but looking forward to zero chance of snow as well (It snowed on May 18th, which is a no for me).

With summer comes lots of reading time! Whether 4th of July by the pool, summer vacations, or finding that extra time we don’t normally have – I’m all about the summer reading lists. I tend to have a pile 5 times the size I know I’ll be able to read, but no matter! I like to dream big. So I put together a list for y’all who are looking for some more books to snag. I decided to stick with books all released in the past few-ish years (Sorry Tollers and Jack, but you know how much I love you).

Maybe next year, I’ll plan ahead and have a list of all new releases, but let’s not be hasty Internet. Also, if you’re wondering why I chose 10, I have no idea. It’s the first number that popped in my head. #Professional

1. Redwall by Brian Jacques. I bought this about 4 years ago. As with many books, I was right on top of getting to it. Anyway, this is for those who have a soft spot for stories like Secret of The NIMH, An American Tail (#FievelLove) and other such animal fantastical stories. An entertaining read and if you enjoy it, there’s about 574,875,439 in the series.

2. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I’m simply going to say it’s a page turner. Also please tell me your thoughts when you finish. That’s pretty much the only reason I’m adding this book, I need more people to discuss this with! That and it’s a great pick for fans of thrillers. (Heads up, there’s language)

3. The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner. If you enjoy time slip novels, definitely add this to your list. The time period she focuses on, is one that I always find fascinating. If you’ve never read a time slip, then here’s a great place to start!

4. Life After by Katie Ganshert. I promise I’m not just saying this since we published it. It’s truly a beautiful story. Truly Katie’s best.

5. The Alliance by Jolina Petersheim. A different take on dystopian that I thought worked really well. Not at all what I was expecting, but enjoyed it quite a bit. Later this week will be my review of the story’s conclusion, The Divide.

6. Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge. Inspired by one of the all time greats and plus it takes place in one of my favorite cities in the Universe, so of course I have to include it.

7. Blur by Steven James. What’s a summer read without a thriller or two? I’ll be reading the third (and final) in the series this summer as well. Don’t read it in the dark by yourself though…

8. A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander. She’s one of my go to for inspirational historical reads. I have yet to be disappointed with her stories!

9. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith. Judge away, but y’all…I loved this book. It’s by the same author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, so if you enjoyed that, this might be one for you.

10. Red Rising by Pierce Brown. It’s The Hunger Games to the third power and it takes place on Mars. It captured my attention and I hope to finish the series this summer as well.

Here’s some 2018 additions:

What are some of the books on your summer reading list?

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Inklings

Out of the Silent Planet 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!!)

“A violet yellow sunset was pouring through a rift in the clouds to westward, but straight ahead over the hills the sky was the colour of dark slate.”

How have I not read this until now? I feel like a fake fan! It was a fabulous read to kick off the series and I look forward to reading the other two in the series, but first to discuss!

The first book in C. S. Lewis’s acclaimed Space Trilogy, which continues with Perelandra and That Hideous Strength, Out of the Silent Planet begins the adventures of the remarkable Dr. Ransom. Here, that estimable man is abducted by a megalomaniacal physicist and his accomplice and taken via spaceship to the red planet of Malacandra. The two men are in need of a human sacrifice, and Dr. Ransom would seem to fit the bill. Once on the planet, however, Ransom eludes his captors, risking his life and his chances of returning to Earth, becoming a stranger in a land that is enchanting in its difference from Earth and instructive in its similarity. First published in 1943, Out of the Silent Planet remains a mysterious and suspenseful tour de force.

Here’s a fun fact to kick things off (in case you didn’t catch last month’s read): Tolkien and Lewis once flipped a coin deciding who would write a time travel story and who would write an outer space novel. Thanks to that coin toss, Lewis wrote Out of the Silent Planet and Tolkien wrote The Notion Club Papers (a time travel set in the future of the 1980s :).

I wish I had a better way to say this, but the way C.S. Lewis paints a story is rad. I constantly found myself pausing during the book and just thinking how talented and gifted he was as a writer (and by my description of “rad,” you can see we’re on slightly different playing fields).

Like this:

“Pulsing with brightness as with some unbearable pain or pleasure, clustered in pathless and countless multitudes, dreamlike in clarity, blazing in perfect blackness, the stars seized all his attention, troubled him, excited him, and drew him up to a sitting position…

…now that the very name “Space” seemed a blasphemous libel for this empyrean ocean of radiance in which they swam.”

I mean….

Now onto the actual storyline :). Not only did we once again see the creative and imaginative genius of Lewis, but I found myself wishing all the creatures on the planet were real and that one day I could hang out with them (add that list to Narnia and Middle Earth). I loved what got Ransom to speak with Hyoi was he heard him speaking and his love of language took over, especially since both Tolkien and Lewis loved languages.

I laughed quite a bit too, like with this line: “For a moment Ransom found something reassuring in the thought that the sorns were shepherds. Then he remembered that the Cyclops in Homer plied the same trade.”

When Hyoi was shot and killed (which, by the way did not see coming 😦 ), I thought Lewis portrayed the aftermath in such a poignant way. How do you explain someone kills something for no other reason than they wanted to?

As I mentioned before, I haven’t read the rest of the series, but I hope there is more to come battling Weston and the forces behind him.

“…our cry is not merely “Hands off Malacandra.” The dangers to be feared are not planetary but cosmic, or at least solar, and they are not temporal but eternal. More than this it would be unwise to say.”

I also really enjoyed the Postscript and the letter between Ransom and the writer. Not only was it a creative way to gain more insight into the world Lewis created, but I like that we got more of what it was like when Ransom returned home.

Here’s some questions I was thinking about:

1. How the hey was Jack (aka Clive Staples aka my BFF) so creative?!
I mean, geez, save some genius for the rest of the world. Obviously this isn’t really a question I expect answered, but I still needed to get it off my chest :).

2. How does this rank against Lewis’ other fiction books for you?
It might be too early for me to make this statement (since I have to read the others), but I think Narnia still holds the top spot for Lewis’ fiction work. But please don’t take that to mean I didn’t enjoy this – I thoroughly did. It’s just hard to beat Aslan. 🙂

3. I love that Lewis used a sci-fi novel to take a look at humanity. Did that stick out to any of you?
It could be because I’ve been watching Breaking Bad and I love The Walking Dead, two shows that reveal both the bad and good of humanity in different/unique/dire circumstances, but that kept popping up. Take Weston. He’s arrogant and refuses to truly learn about the lives he encounters. He only sought power and dominance. Devine clearly didn’t grasp mo’ money, mo’ problems. Greed drove him, even when he encountered something no one else from planet Earth had. Then there was Ransom. Sweet Ransom. The complete opposite of the other two. I kinda think Lewis wrote pieces of his personality in Ransom’s character too.

4. Did you have a favorite of the Malacandra beings? Between the sorns, hrossa, Oyarsa and pfifltriggi?
I want to pick the pfifltriggi based solely on their name. I have no idea how to pronounce it, but it makes me laugh! This really is a tough one though, but I think I might have to go with the hrossa. They were the first we really encounter, so that probably has something to do with my bias.

What about you readers? As always, please share any other insights as well! Looking forward to reading what you thought of the book!

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

Movie Musings

Why the Hey Did I Watch These Movies as a Child? Plus Some 80s Classics

Today’s kids grew up on Harry Potter. You know what they missed out on? Movies featuring balls of fur rolling around eating people.

Jealousy, my friends, should be the only response.

Today belongs to my youth. Today’s post is an ode to my youth and the crazy movies I stumbled upon. Why I watched many of these, one will never know. Will I include photos for the first half? No. That image search would give me nightmares.

So without further ado, here’s three of my “favorites.” And by “favorites” I mean, what.the.hey.

IT – I’ve talked about this many times before. That’s probably a hint for all you psychologists about the effect this had on me. Clearly I’m still working through my issues of a murderous clown preying on small children on rainy days. What a great film to watch before the age of 10. By that I mean DON’T.EVER.WATCH.THIS.FILM. I should also bold that last statement just to get the point across. I still have the dialogue between Georgie and IT in the sewer seared in my brain. Apparently I thought it would make me seem cool if I watched it. It didn’t.  (I should confess…my parents had no idea I watched this until after the damage was done)

Arachnophobia – The name says it all kids. The name says it all. It’s bad enough I watched this when I was eight. It’s even worse I WANTED to see it on my birthday. Because nothing says happy birthday to an eight year old child like a screaming spider flying across the screen. I still remember the amount of air I got during the first scene that included a spider jumping out of a plant. I guess I thought I was ready to act like I was 30. Kids, don’t grow up too fast. There’s plenty of time for that. But who am I kidding?? If a movie like this came out now, you wouldn’t see me near it. The fear Indy has of snakes doesn’t come close to my hatred of spiders.

Critters – After watching this, I couldn’t touch an Easter egg for years (the little jerks hatched from eggs and unsuspecting people painted them as Easter eggs one year in the movie). According to wiki, this series (why yes, there was more than one) is about “a group of malevolent carnivorous aliens from outer space, called Krites, that have the ability to roll into balls and combine into a pernicious sphere that can roll across the landscape and cause mayhem. In appearance, the individual Krites resemble small furry/spiky animals with large mouths and many sharp teeth. Throughout the movies they attack humans by biting and attempting to eat them, or at least a piece of them.” Why wouldn’t you want to watch such a film??

But friends, not all my childhood was full of petrifying films. Oh no! I grew up in the 80s aka the decade of awesomeness. Photos from these? Heck yes, they’ll give you a clue to the incredible-ness of each film.


Back to the Future – This is a given. “McFlyyyyyyy!” The good news is, 2015 is just around the corner, so I’m pretty excited for the hover board to finally make its appearance. Oh and flying cars.

Goonies – If you have to ask why, then please stop being my friend. Unless it’s because you are young, then I’ll gladly regale in tales of this film. Every time I watch this movie, I still want to drop everything and go look for a pirate ship.

Every Disney cartoon ever created. Except The Fox and the Hound. Kuddos to producing the second most depressing cartoon ever Disney (second only to Dumbo).

Cloak and Dagger – It took awhile for me not to fear the Riverwalk, less I get kidnapped by a crazy grandma lady with missing fingers, but I simply love this film! Following little Davey, who stumbles across secret information from spies in a video game, it’s full of adventure and espionage. Seriously, still one of my favs. Plus, you have to appreciate the old school video games they have.

Flight of the Navigator – This film makes me want a pet alien. It’s a simple plot really: “In 1978, a boy is moved 8 years into the future and has an adventure with the alien ship that is responsible for that.” It’s as awesome as it sounds. “Compliance!”

Labyrinth – The only negative of this film is David Bowie’s creepy pants. Other than that, it pretty much sums up the 80s (and maybe the effects of the 70s….) “Allo….No, I said “‘allo,” but that’s close enough.”

Dark Crystal – Between this and Labyrinth, it makes me wonder what was going on with Jim Henson during the creation of these films. This movie is so tripped out I don’t even know how to describe it. All I know is my siblings and I loved the recorded-from-TV version we had and watched it all the time. Well, if you must know, here’s the official description: “On another planet in the distant past, a Gelfling embarks on a quest to find the missing shard of a magical crystal, and so restore order to his world.” Add puppets and you know that’s award-winning material right there.

Alright my fellow children of the 80s (or anyone else really), what are some of your favorites? And for you youngins (I kid! I kid!) who grew up in the 90s, what are your favs (because I’ll actually remember those like yesterday)?