beezus and ramona | review

I was shopping Audible today, trying to figure out what to spend my monthly credit on when I came across the Ramona Quimby Audio Collection.  I know I’m in my twenties and all but you have to understand, I LOVED Beverly Cleary books when I was growing up and here was a $40 collection of all 8 Ramona books available to me for 1 Audible credit!

I got it.

I finished the first two books while weeding the garden beds.

I should have been listening to something else.  Something more…mature.  But it was sooooo sweet revisiting Klickitat street again, it was worth it!  I have a feeling I’m going to finish this collection pretty quickly!

912441Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary

Rating: 5.0 – 5.0

My Thoughts:

I don’t remember how old I was when I first listened to this audiobook but I’ve always loved it.  It gains a new kind of precious when you’re an adult. You gain a new kind of appreciation because you better understand childhood and you remember what it was like to be a child.  As an older sister, I can totally relate to Beezus Quimby.  But since you know what’s going on in Ramona’s little, imaginative head, you can’t help but love her and her exasperating ways.

I absolutely love the way Cleary tells her stories.  She connects events and makes things come full circle.  The way the applesauce incident ties in with the surprise party.  The way Beezus’ feelings about her relationship with Ramona and her admiration of the relationship between her mother and Aunt Beatrice.  They’re quite simple really but they’re touching and sweet and homey the way a children’s book should be.

And I must say, Stockard Channing’s reading of the Ramona books is superb and if there is another audiobook production of these stories, I will not ever listen to them cause no one can narrate these books the way she can!

I have 7 more books to go so I’ll have plenty more to write about Ramona in my next several posts!

Happy reading y’all!

This book counts towards the following challenges:


the true confessions of charlotte doyle | review

I’m not sure how many times I have listened to this audiobook in the past ten years but it is one of my favorite stories from eighth grade.  I just listened to it again this week and it’s about time I reviewed it!!


I first encountered this book when I was in eighth grade.  I liked it so much, I did one of my book report projects on it.  For some reason, tales about the high seas intrigued me and I went through this lady pirate phase.  Don’t ask.  This book doesn’t even contain pirates.  I just wanted to read about girls on ships and those books were out there – but the girls in the books I got my hands on were pirates!

I have since gotten over the whole pirate thing but I’ve still kept this piece of junior fiction on my list of favorite stories.

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

Rating: 5.0 – 5.0

My Thoughts:

Charlotte Doyle is a sweet thirteen-year-old girl traveling from Liverpool, England to her family in America.  It’s quite a simple arrangement really.  Two other families are supposed to travel on the same voyage, thus keeping her protected and occupied.  However, when she boards the ship, the other passengers are nowhere to be seen and she realizes she must make the trip as the only passenger besides captain and crew.

Something’s not right.

Word has it that the captain is not what he seems.  But Charlotte finds him the very sole of propriety, class, and dignity – everything she has been brought up to expect and respect in a gentleman.  He’s the one man who understands her, can protect her, and provide her with the kind of respectable companionship on this long, lonely voyage.  But some of the crew have made it clear that they do not trust or like him.

So what is she supposed to do when everything is turned upside down and she’s caught in the middle of the power struggle?

And what is supposed to do when she’s accused of murder, tried and found guilty?

I have a thing for mysteries, I must say.  And for ship stories.  Ten years later and it still does the job.

This book counts towards the following challenges:



the reluctant heiress | book review

One of my absolute favorite YA novels is Eva Ibbotson’s A Countess Below Stairs.  A few years ago, I picked up another one of her books hoping that I would enjoy it just as much.  A started it several times, not being able to sink into the story. I listed it as an alternate title on my 2014 TBR list and after spotting it on Audible, I decided to give the audiobook a shot.

5711852The Reluctant Heiress by Eva Ibbotson

Rating: 2.5-4.0

Let me first just say that I have a hard time with the title.  This book, as well as A Countess Below Stairs, was re-released in 2009 from its original publication in 1982 with the title Magic Flutes.  I think the original title fits the story better, but whatever – it is what it is!

Eva Ibbotson tells the story of Austrian heiress Princess Theresa-Maria of Pfaffenstein. With nothing to her name accept a castle that is far past its prime, this princess cheerfully hides her identity and secures a position as an under-wardrobe mistress for an opera company with its own financial struggles.

Completely unselfish and unwavering in her belief that everyone is equal, she throws herself into her work and her passion for music believing that it is the medium that will level the social playing field. Meanwhile, her broken-down old castle is purchased by self-made millionaire Guy Farne who has grand designs of his own.  Only Guy’s plans center around re-capturing the heart of a woman from his past. When their paths cross, both Tessa’s and Guy’s respective worlds are flipped around and each is forced to evaluate what love means and what they truly want in life.

This book definitely charming and has its clever moments just as I expect from Ibbotson. However, I wouldn’t put it up their with A Countess Below Stairs though.  I don’t know but there wasn’t the same level of dignity in this book. And while Tessa is very sweet and likable, I didn’t warm up to the other characters very much.

I think, perhaps, I’ll give the audio another shot in the future. Distant future….lol.

I’m glad I finally got through this read and I can cross it off my TBR list and add it to my Audio Book Challenge for this year!  Two birds, one stone. Yeah, baby!

Hope y’all are having a great week so far!

Happy reading!

Book Challenges for 2014!


I can’t believe a brand new year is already here!  I think back to this time last year and I don’t know where the time has gone!!  I look ahead to the future and I see lots of hard work, many lessons to learn, God’s blessings to be realized and, as always, more books to read!!  So after looking through the list of great challenges on A Novel Challenge, I’ve chosen to participate in some reading challenges again!  This will serve as my master post that I’ll link to each event post.  I’ll also be making a separate page for each challenge to track my progress through the year.

I’m going to be realistic in my expectations and aim low.  That way, I’ll be more likely to reach my goals and not feel like a failure.  Not a practice I recommend in more important life matters, but no harm here!!  If I read more than I planned then great!!  But for now, my goals are modest.

2014 Audio Book Challenge


Hosted at Teresa’s Reading Corner

I tried this one for 2013 and didn’t reach the level I chose.  There are five to choose from:

  • Flirting-Listen to 6 Audio Books
  • Going Steady- Listen to 12 Audio Books
  • Lover- Listen to 25 Audio Books
  • Married-Listen to more than 25 Audio Books
  • You Define the Relationship- Create your own challenge (choose your own name and level starting as low or going as high as you’d like)

I’m going to try it again, only this time, I’m going to be a bit more realistic in my expectations. I’ll shoot for Going Steady – 12 audio books.

Click HERE for the details.

Back to the Classics 2014


Hosted at Books and Chocolate

This is one of several challenges that will go nicely with my Classics Club reads.  I want to finish many more titles this year I did last year.  Among other guidelines, this challenge has a list of required categories:

  1. A 20th Century Classic
  2. A 19th Century Classic
  3. A Classic by a Woman Author
  4. A Classic in Translation  If English is not your primary language, then books originally published in English are acceptable.  You could also read the book in its original language if you are willing and able to do so.
  5. A Classic About War  2014 will be the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I.  Any book relating to a war is fine — WWI, WWII, the French Revolution, the War of the Worlds — your choice.
  6. A Classic by an Author Who Is New To You This can be any author whose works you have not read before.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be an author you’ve never heard of.

Should be fun!

Click HERE for full details.

2014 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge


Hosted at Historical Tapestry

There are 6 different reading levels to choose from:

  1. 20th century reader – 2 books
  2. Victorian reader – 5 books
  3. Renaissance Reader – 10 books
  4. Medieval – 15 books
  5. Ancient History – 25 books
  6. Prehistoric – 50+ books

I’m going for Victorian reader – 5 books.

Click HERE for full details.

2014 Historic Fiction Reading Challenge


Hosted at Ramblings of a Daydreamer

Basically the same as above, but I figured, why not? :)
1-5 books ~ Testing the bonds of time
6-12 books ~ Slipping through time
13-20 books ~ Traveling back in time
21+ books ~ Living in the past
I’m going to do Testing the Bonds of Time – 1-5 books
Click HERE for full details!

2014 Series Challenge

Series-Challenge-Button-take2Hosted at Read. Sleep. Repeat.

I’ve got a couple of series I’d like to read this year so this is perfect!  The rules are as follows:

  • You have to FINISH the series
  • If the series isn’t complete yet, or will not be completed before December 1st, 2014 read up to the most recent book in said series.
  • Novellas count, but are optional.
  • HAVE fun
  • If you decide to break up with a series after book one, it does not count!
  • You do not have to START the series in 2014, you just have to FINISH it in 2014
  • Series that you started prior to 2014 are fine as long as you FINISH the series in 2014
  • The series has to have at least 2 books out prior to December 1st, 2014
  • Proof that you finished the book is required. It could be a full review, a mini review, or a rating with a few lines.
  • DNF’s do not count. PERIOD.

Click HERE for further details.

2014 TBR Pile Challenge


Hosted at Roof Beam Reader

This is another one that I didn’t finish last year.  I’m going to try for it once again!  The goal is to read 12 books that have been on your bookshelf or “To Be Read” list for at least a year.

Click HERE for full details.

A Year in Re-Reading: a 2014 Reading Challlenge


Hosted at

A good portion of my CC list consists of rereads.  I’m hoping to knock out most of them this coming year!

Click HERE for full details.

That should do it for now! Have a blessed 2014!!

Happy reading :)

a countess below stairs review

714569I’m counting this toward the Audiobook Challenge even though it’s a total cheat because I’ve listened to this book at least one-hundred times, including a happy run-through this year.  This review is a bit of a cheat as well since it’s just an abridged version of the review I did on Tumblr in 2010.

Whatever, I’m going for it anyhow!

I discovered this book years ago on accident at the library (isn’t that how so many of our favorites are discovered?).  The audiobook was read by Davina Porter, one of my favorite narrators.  Her performance of this book is beautiful!

Eva Ibbotson tells the story of a Russian countess who must keep her identity hidden after her family loses everything during the Russian Revolution. Finding herself practically penniless in England, she manages to secure a job as a housemaid for an Englishman’s estate.  Utterly out of her realm, Anna, armed with a copy of Selina Strickland’s The Domestic Servant’s Compendium, is, nevertheless, determined to work hard for her boss, the new Earl of Westerholme, who is just returning home from fighting in the Great War. With her zest for life, her willingness to please, her selfless heart, and genuine interest in the lives of others, Anna Grazinsky soon captures the hearts of the inhabitants of Mersham, including that of Lord Westerholme himself who is in the midst of preparing for his marriage to the golden-haired, blue-eyed goddess, Muriel Hardwick.

I looooove this story!  If you’re looking for a romantic comedy, this is it!  It’s completely fast-paced, witty, honest, dignified, vivid and charming.  Ibbotson spun a tale of honor, duty, and loyalty, as well as pure, unadulterated love and I definitely put it up there in my top 5 favorite YA novels.

All the girls had bobbed curtsies as he passed, but Rupert was about to encounter for the first time this weapon of social intercourse in Anna Grazinsky’s hands. One arm flew gracefully outward and up like an ascending dove, her right foot, elegantly flexed, drew a wide arc on the rich carpet-and she sank slowly, deeply and utterly to the ground…here was homage made flesh; here, between the bust of an obese Roman emperor and a small, potted palm, Rupert, Seventh Earl of Westerholme, was being offered commitment, servitude, another human being’s all. 

Reading the hard copy is great but if you can, get the audiobook read by Davina Porter.  It’s a delightful listen!

Y’all stay blessed :)

audio vs. hard copy: how do you read?


With all this reading and book reviewing I’ve been doing will will be doing, there is a question that I’ve never quite been able to answer for myself:

I still haven’t decided whether or not I count audiobooks I’ve listened to as books I’ve read.

Part of me says yes and part of me says no.  I’ve been an audio bookworm for years and still haven’t settled that in my head.  I just think reading and listening are two different things.  Or has reading become the all-purpose term for taking in information from a book?  Whether you physically hold the book in your hands or your parents read it to you before bed or you pop the tape into your player doesn’t matter, but rather that you are taking in the story or information that the author penned.  It certainly sounds better to say, “Oh yeah I read that book awhile ago,” instead of “Yeah I listened to that on tape once.” (Okay, I know books-on-tape are so very antiquated, but you get my meaning!) Often, after I’ve finished an audiobook, I’ll want to get my hands on a physical copy so I can read it and pick up on anything I might have missed.  This is usually the case with non-fiction titles.  However, I don’t hesitate too much to say that I’ve read a novel I’ve only listened too.

I don’t know.

I know I’m probably over-thinking this :P.

What do y’all think?  How do you read?  Which do you prefer?  Do you consider audiobooks and hard copies equals?

Y’all have a blessed day =)

Image courtesy of africa/

2013 Audio Book Challenge

I stuck the button on my sidebar last week but never posted about the 2013 Audio Book challenge! I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been an avid audio book listener since young childhood. When I saw this challenge, I absolutely had to join ;).


It’s quite simple really.  Participants choose a level and listen their way through the year!  Here are the different levels:

  • Flirting-Listen to 6 Audio Books
  • Going Steady- Listen to 12 Audio Books
  • Lover- Listen to 25 Audio Books
  • Married-Listen to more than 25 Audio Books
  • You Define the Relationship- Create your own challenge (choose your own name and level starting as low or going as high as you’d like)

I have chosen Lover, level 3.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up listening to more than 25 books but we shall see!

If you’re an audio bookworm and would like to join in the fun, click here for full details!!