Throwback Thursday

Vintage Book Spotlight – Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens

I’m bringing you another Vintage book from my bookshelves this Throwback Thursday.

Today we have Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens, published by P. F. Collier & Son, New York in 1911. These are volumes 11 and 12 from a 30 volume set.

The front flap indicates that these were owned by the “Nancy Carson Library” in North Augusta, South Carolina. A handwritten note puts the donation in July of 1933.

There is a total of 26 illustrations in these two volumes. Nicholas Nickleby was Charles Dickens’s third novel. It was original published in a serial from 1836-1839. The story centers on the life and adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, a young man who must support his mother and sister after his father dies. The story has been adapted for screen/stage at least seven times, with actors like Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Nathan Lane (Guys and Dolls), and Anne Hathaway (Les Mis, Ella Enchanted).

Charles John Huffman Dickens dropped out of school to work when his father went into Debtors’ Prison. Despite his lack of formal education, he edited a weekly journal for 20 years, wrote 15 novels, hundreds of other stories, and non-fiction articles, and lectured extensively. He also campaigned vigorously for children’s rights and education, being a victim of that circumstance himself. He used cliffhangers prolifically in his serials. His writing was so popular that non-readers would pay to have them read aloud. The young Queen Victoria is known to have read both Oliver Twist and The Pickwick Papers and stayed up until midnight discussing them.

He is also known for creating the “Urania House”. It was a place for “ladies of the night” (not vampires) to learn to read and write. Around 100 women graduated from this program.

The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.

Charles Dickens

Most men unconsciously judge the world from themselves, and it will be very generally found that those who sneer habitually at human nature, and affect to despise it, are among its worst and least pleasant samples.

Charles Dickens

In journeys, as in life, it is a great deal easier to go down hill than up

Charles Dickens

Family need not be defined merely as those with whom we share blood, but as those for whom we would give our blood.

Charles Dickens

But I am thinking like a lover, or like an ass: which I suppose is pretty nearly the same.

Charles Dickens
Book Review

Take Three Girls by Crowley, Howell, and Wood

Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQIA+

Published April 6th, 2021 by Sterling Teen

432 pages

Synopsis (Goodreads): Popular Ady seems cool and confident at school, but at home her family is falling apart. Brainiac Kate wants to pursue her dreams of playing music, even if it jeopardizes her academic scholarship. And swim champ Clem finds herself disenchanted with the sport . . . and falling for a very wrong boy. When these three very different girls are forced to team up in a wellness class, they’re not too pleased. But over time, they bond—and when they’re all targeted by PSST, a website that dishes out malicious gossip and lies, they decide to take a stand, uncover the culprits, and fight back. But can they really fix a broken system? With each girl’s story told by a different author, as well as intriguing questionnaires from the wellness class included throughout, this empowering novel explores today’s most relevant topics— from cyberbullying and fat shaming to drug abuse and financial stress. 

My Review:

This was such a well-done book. When I was first asked to read this book, I was a little hesitant when I realized it was told in first person from three different perspectives. However, the characters were so unique and fleshed out that I could tell who was speaking and it wasn’t confusing for me. They each had their own voices and I loved that about them.

First, we have Ady – the popular, cool kid from a rich family, who is hiding that her whole world is falling apart at home.

Then there’s Clem. She’s the jock and on the swim team. She sprained her wrist and had to take some time off from swimming. During that time she gained weight and met a boy. An older boy. She makes some bad decisions while dealing with body image issues.

Finally, there is Kate. Kate is the brainiac and the musician. Her family wants her to become a doctor, but she wants to be a cellist. She doesn’t know who to make happy.

Their private school is offering a wellness class to help the students deal with stress, depression, and anxiety. The teacher teams them up with others based on their thumb sizes. These three unlikely friends have the longest thumbs of the class and find themselves forced to socialize with one another.

There’s also the PSST website. No one knows who they are, but they’re often putting up mean, hateful things about girls in the three main private schools in the area. All three of the protagonists are targeted and they find they need to pull together to get through it and figure out a way to take down the PSST website.

This was such a fun story! The characters are flawed and relatable. I love the message of hope and friendship that is in this. The writing was great. Even though from a plot standpoint there were parts that didn’t feel they were moving, so much was happening in the characters’ arcs. The plot was still great though. I just tend to read more fantasy which has crazy stuff happening in practically every chapter.

Let me talk for a moment about the character arcs. Characters arcs are what make a story for me. These characters are so flawed and struggle with so much. They’re basic teen struggles, but there are three of them. Watching the character development throughout this story was such a fun experience. Sometimes I felt like being the mom by helping them and offer suggestions. “Just talk to your parents/friend/teacher!!!” As the mom of teens, I know they don’t do that. This was real and painful and beautifully done. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I found it insightful and easy to read. Also – FLOWER POWER!! Okay, seriously, just read it to understand.

I loved this book!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Here’s my affiliate link to purchase this at The Bookshop where you can support indie bookstores.

Trigger and Content Warnings: body shaming, homophobia, bullying, profanity, sex (not steamy)

This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Book Reviews and Stuff

Bookish This or That

We all love playing This or That on Instagram, right? Why not do it on our blogs, too? So, here I go, as I attempt to recreate This or That on my blog instead of on Instagram.

Paperback or Hardback

Already it’s a hard one. I love both. I prefer hardbacks because I feel like they last longer and can withstand the hard life I put them through. However, they really hurt when I drop them on my face as I’m falling asleep in bed. Paperbacks are easier to read on the to. Sometimes (I’m embarrassed to admit this) I fold the cover backward on itself which is terrible for the binding, but it makes it so much easier to read. Bottom line, I prefer hardback, but paperback is more convenient.

Bookstore or Online

Definitely bookstore! That doesn’t mean that I don’t shop online. I shop online a lot because it’s more convenient, but nothing beats going into the bookstore and being surrounded by all those books, being able to physically look at the book and bold the book, and not having to worry about what may happen to the book during shipping. However, online is convenient, especially when there’s a pandemic.

Series or Standalone

I definitely choose a series. I don’t love the confusing beginning of a book when I’m trying to figure who all the characters are and what the world is like. With a series, it only has to be that way with the first book. There’s still more to learn, but the basic foundation is there so I can just sit back and enjoy the wild ride.

Sci-Fi or Fantasy

Oh goodness. This is a hard one. I think I’m going to have to choose fantasy. Really, I love when a book is both – aliens, spaceships, and magic. Yes!! However, that’s not how This or That works, so I’m choosing fantasy. I love the magic stuff and it can be set in any time. Of course, sci-fi can turn steampunk or have time travel which will take it to any time, too. No, that’s making it too complicated. I’m sticking with my original decision – FANTASY!

Audiobook or Physical Book

This really depends on what I’m doing. If my hands are busy – cooking, cleaning, driving – then I want an audiobook. If my hands are not busy then I want a physical book for a couple of reasons. One, I think I’d look pretty funny standing around with headphones in and doing nothing. Second, I really comprehend more when I read than when I listen.

Indoor or Outdoor

I live in the south, so there are only specific times of the year that I can sit outside. Summer gets way too hot and our summer lasts the majority of the year. Sitting outside in the spring and fall while I read is amazing though. It’s absolutely my favorite. Air conditioning is really a marvelous invention though, and I very happily take advantage of it. I guess I have to choose one though – Indoor reading is something I can enjoy year-round.

Morning or Night

I wish I could say I read in the morning. I actually read any chance I get. I’m a homeschool mom, so I’m busy. If both the kids are occupied doing independent school (I have a middle schooler and a high schooler) then I get a few pages in until I’m needed to teach something to one of them again. I try to get 50-80 pages in each day and I’m normally trying to cram them in during my evening hours – around 9pm. So, night, but I’d love to read in the mornings.

Binge-Read or Slow Read

I really have no answer to this one. Many factors decide this one. Sometimes I’m in the mood to binge read, but it also has to be a binge reading book. Not all books are binge-reading material. Some books are slow reading material and sometimes I’m in the mood to read slowly. One isn’t better than the other. It just is.

Books that make you laugh or Books that make you cry

This is like the previous one. Both! It depends on my mood.

Music or Silence

I love listening to music when I read. It’s normally on the Pandora Cranberries station or Indies station. Yeap, that’s what I listen to. Occasionally, I throw it on the Broadway station, but sometimes I sing too much with that one to comprehend what I’m reading. In fact, I’m listening to The Cranberries station right now as I’m typing this. The Show by Lenka just finished and Linger by The Cranberries just started.

Hero or Villain

Definitely hero, especially if it’s an underdog story.

Plot-Driven or Character-Driven

I’m absolutely a character-driven reader. The character arc is the most important part to me. I mean, it needs a good plot, too, but if there’s a good character arc then the plot can be forgiven.

You’re turn!!!

Book Review

Heartstopper Volume I

Published October 2018

278 pages

graphic novel, romance

Blurb (Goodreads): Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, meet at a British all-boys grammar school. Friendship blooms quickly, but could there be something more…?

Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn’t been too great, but at least he’s not being bullied anymore. Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He’s heard a little about Charlie – the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months – but he’s never had the opportunity to talk to him.

They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner… 

Lin’s Review

Charlie is an openly gay high schooler. Nick is a straight jock who becomes really good friends with Charlie. Charlie begins to have feelings for Nick, but Nick is straight. He knows nothing can come of it, but he can’t stop it from happening.

This was such a sweet story. I’ve been putting off reading it, but finally just did and finished it in less than an hour. Then my daughter borrowed it and she finished it in less than an hour. The ending has us needing Volume 2 right now. This is not my normal genre, but for an occasional read, it is fun.

Review from my 13-year-old daughter – It was a great book. I highly recommend it.

My daughter’s rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Purchase Heartstopper from bookshop.org and support book stores at the same time!

Content Warning: There is a good amount of profanity and some homophobia.

Book Reviews and Stuff · Book Stacks

5 Favorite Royal Books in Honor of Prince Philip

I think by now we’ve all heard that Prince Philip passed away. If you’d like to send your condolences to the royal family, they have a spot set up on their website. I thought it would be fitting to make a list of my favorite books with royal families. There is a lot of drama around this family, but in this space we’re just going to keep it about the books.


The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer – We have Prince Kai and Queen Lavana in this one as readers follow Cinder and all the other characters in this fun sci-fi/fantasy young adult adventure.


The Selection by Kiera Cass – We have Prince Maxon in this The Bachelor meets Royalty set in this dystopian world.


The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen – We have a divided kingdom, dead or missing royalty, and their destiny all lays in the hands of one boy.


The American Royals by Katharine McGee – What would life be like with a royal family in the United States?


Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston – The U.S. President’s son and the Prince are enemies. They have to fake a friendship to smooth things over with the press and things just get fun from there!


What is your favorite royal book?

Book Review

Kings and Queens by J.N. Eagles

Independently Published Feb 26, 2020

163 pages

Poetry, Fantasy

Blurb (Goodreads): Kings and Queens is a coming of age poetry book. The story follows a young queen as she struggles to find herself while dealing with the king’s rule, the fire-breathing dragon, and the evil queen.

Lin’s Review

This is the story of a young queen who must marry. She doesn’t get to choose her husband and future king of her people, but she does her duty. She soon realizes the man she’s married to is not a good king. He’s not good for her country or her people. The queen must find a way to help her people. There’s a dragon and an evil queen involved as well.

I don’t read a lot of poetry, but this was such a fun read. It was fantasy and hooked me in from the beginning. I visualized the whole thing in my head, which is often hard for me when I read poetry. The story played out and it was such a fun fantasy adventure!!! Epic poems seem to be the only kind of poetry that I can sit there and excitedly read an entire book of it.

Do you like epic poems? Do you enjoy fantasy adventures with warring kingdoms and dragons? If you said yes to either of those – pick up this book!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pick up this book from Bookshop.org and support independent bookstores. (Affiliate Link)

I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

Book Review

The Changeling’s Source

Blurb (Amazon):

Her past could keep them apart. His past could separate them forever.

Sixteen-year-old Tara struggles as a changeling alva. Source—both positive and negative—flows through Tara, giving her the magical ability to enhance or destroy. When harsh betrayals fill her with dark source, Tara decides the best way to protect everyone is to become ice cold.

Repeat encounters with two very different guys thaw the protective walls she’s built. One harbors a secret. The other suspects a lie. Tara may be key to discovering the truth. As everything unravels, can she keep them safe from her dark source?

Meanwhile, the culprit who turned all Tara’s friends against her still watches from the sidelines, waiting for the moment revenge will hurt the most.

Lin’s Review:

Tara is a Changeling. When things happen in her life that make her feel happy, she builds up positive source and when bad things happen she builds up negative source. Source is like good or bad magic. One destroys while the other enhances. Tara has had a hard life and you need to take notes to figure out the family situation, but she has a beautiful character arc. There are two guys in life who make her see things a bit differently and one girl in her life who is a total mean girl. This story was mostly about Tara figuring out who she is and how to navigate her life with really strong teen emotions that bring on magical powers that she sometimes struggles to control.

This was a story with a lot of potential. However, I feel that this book was too long and could have told the same story in fewer words. I think if it was more succinct then it could have been a five star read for me. As it was, it was a bit hard to get into. The characters were so well developed that they had a lot to say, but I don’t think it was all needed. Overall, I give this one 3.5 Stars and recommend if you like plenty of teen drama mixed with a bit of magic.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

If you’d like to purchase this one, then be sure to check it out HERE!

First Line Friday

Friday Spotlight: Elatsoe

I decided to go with my current read this week. I’m hoping to finish it before Monday, but I’m really enjoying it so far.

Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

Ellie bought the life-sized plastic skull at a garage sale. After bringing the purchase home, she dug through her box of craft supplies and glued a pair of googly eyes in its shallow eye sockets.

Also every Friday there is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice.

These are the rules:

  1. Grab a book, any book.
  2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader. If you have to improvise, that is okay.
  3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
  4. Post it.
  5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda’s most recent Friday 56 post.

As her father listened to his favorite long-haul driving music (eighties rock), Ellie scrutinized her memories of Trevor. There were no clues, no warnings, that hinted at his violent death. If lives were books, his final chapter came too soon and belonged to a different genre.

Blurb from Goodreads:

Imagine an America very similar to our own. It’s got homework, best friends, and pistachio ice cream.

There are some differences. This America been shaped dramatically by the magic, monsters, knowledge, and legends of its peoples, those Indigenous and those not. Some of these forces are charmingly everyday, like the ability to make an orb of light appear or travel across the world through rings of fungi. But other forces are less charming and should never see the light of day.

Elatsoe lives in this slightly stranger America. She can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered, in a town that wants no prying eyes. But she is going to do more than pry. The picture-perfect facade of Willowbee masks gruesome secrets, and she will rely on her wits, skills, and friends to tear off the mask and protect her family.

Book Blogger Hop was created by Jennifer @ Crazy-For-Books in March 2010 and is currently hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer. The hop’s purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog.

This week’s questions is:

What books have you read/reviewed that you think are hidden gems, although they haven’t found a big audience yet?

Definitely Jane Austen’s Dragons by Maria Grace. These books combine Jane Austen novels in a world with dragons! Yes, you read that right. Mr. Darcy owns a DRAGON!!!! In my opinion, they greatly improved these books. I totally recommend reading them. Here’s a link to my review on them.

Throwback Thursday

Vintage: Westward Ho!

Each Thursday I talk about one of my vintage books. This week we have Westward Ho! or, the Voyages and Adventures of Sir Amyas Leigh, Knight, of Burrough, in the County of Devon, In the reign of Her Most Glorious Majesty Queen Elizabeth by Kingsley, Charles

It was published by Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York (1930)

Our copy has a “This book belongs to” sticker with the name “Hope Farlin?”. There are numerous color illustrations and moderate water staining throughout the book.

The novel based its premise around the real life Amyas Preston Somers’ expedition which took place in 1595. He was an Elizabethan privateer and was Amyas Leigh in the novel. He sailed with Sir Francis Drake, Walter Raleigh, and other privateers.

The full, long, elaborate title is intended to reflect the mock-Elizabethan style of the novel.

In April 1925, the book was the first novel to be adapted for radio by the BBC.

The book is the inspiration behind the unusual name of the village of “Westward Ho!” in Devon, England, the only place-name in the United Kingdom that contains an exclamation mark.

Charles Kingsley was a priest for the Church of England, a university professor, social reformer, historian, novelist, and poet. He was also a friend and correspondent of Charles Darwin.

Quotes:

“If you do not know, reader, what a Fisher Hobbs is, you know nothing about pigs, and deserve no bacon for breakfast.”

“Why should we long for the next world, before we are fit even for this one?”

“Give the devil rope, and he will hang himself.”

“He was one of those men, moreover, who possess almost every gift except the gift of the power to use them.”

Book Review

Alcatraz by Brandon Sanderson

Blurb (Goodreads): On his thirteenth birthday, foster child Alcatraz Smedry gets a bag of sand in the mail-his only inheritance from his father and mother. He soon learns that this is no ordinary bag of sand. It is quickly stolen by the cult of evil Librarians who are taking over the world by spreading misinformation and suppressing truth. Alcatraz must stop them, using the only weapon he has: an incredible talent for breaking things.

Lin’s Review:

Warning: Librarians do NOT want you to read this book. By reading this book you will be open to a world the Librarians do not want you to discover. This is the actual, factual narrative of a young hero named Alcatraz Smedry who receives a bag of sand for his 13th birthday. (Insert “I’ve got a jar of dirt” jokes here.) However, this is no ordinary sand but a very rare type that is valued above all else. Alcatraz, like any Smedry would, lets it get stolen by the Evil Librarians. Adventure ensues, thrusting young Alcatraz into the world of the free kingdoms, becoming a hero, and trying to find out for himself just who he is. (This is the secret that the Librarians are trying to keep from us, the Hushlanders. Our world, The Hushlands, is filled with lies and is controlled by the librarians. Just FYI. Keep it to yourself, trust me, you don’t want Librarians to know that you know.)

This book had my kids, my husband, and me laughing out loud constantly. Of course, none of us should be surprised that Sanderson once again did an amazing job in writing a book. My entire family loved this book and we were sad to return it to the library. So sad that as soon as we got home we ordered the entire set. Go get this book now; really, go get it. If you don’t you should be flogged with a large fish by a Canadian Moose.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

If you would like to purchase this amazing book! Check it out HERE!