Little Men by Louisa May Alcott

Little Men by Louisa May Alcott is the book I most recently finished. I read this in the course of over a month, but if I had read it more frequently, I would have finished it sooner. It is the book between Little Women and Jo’s Boys in the Jo March trilogy.

Jo March has started her school, taking in boys and girls of all different backgrounds to teach them and love them. Similar to Jo’s Boys, there are quite a few different characters, and plot lines, because Alcott basically writes a summary of what happened at Plumfield over the course of six months. I won’t get into much of the story, but if you like Alcott’s work, this would be a good book to read since it has a lot of beloved characters in it.

Alcott’s style can be slightly confusing. It is definitely not modern; therefore, it might be necessary to reread sentences multiple times to understand who is speaking, or what the meaning of the sentence is.

Overall, I’d suggest this book to anybody who really likes Little Women. It’s definitely not as good as Little Women, but it continues the story of our beloved March (and Lawrence, and Bhaer, and Brooke) family.

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Five of my Favorite Books/Series

Hey everyone! I thought it would be good to write down five of my favorite books and series for you. In no particular order, here they are:

  1. The Bible. Okay, so maybe I will rank this first one…This book will have to be at the top. I’m still not the kind of person who is obsessed with reading the Bible constantly (though I’m coming to that point),  but I’m becoming more and more fond of it. And one day, I hope to be able to say that it’s my favorite book beyond a shadow of a doubt.
  2. The Edge on the Sword by Rebecca Tingle. It’s such a good book, and no one knows about it! I love medieval and European (not as much modern European) royalty, and I am very fond of Europe. This book fits my taste perfectly.
  3. The Lily Series by Nancy Rue. This series is fabulous! It took me forever to get my hands on all fourteen of the books, but I finally did it! It’s definitely worth reading. And yeah, maybe it’s a little too young for an “almost adult,” but I don’t care. I love them anyway.
  4. The Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan. I am NOT a supporter of the direction he has gone with his writing, but the original five Percy Jackson books are good, pretty clean, and appropriate for the younger audiences. Well, just as long as they don’t start obsessing over it…
  5. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Okay, so Alcott fashioned believable, relatable, and lovable characters in this novel. Her two sequels are okay (I’m still not done with Little Men), but Little Women is timeless.

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

This is another really good book I read in fifth or sixth grade.

 

It covers the story of Sylvia and Bonnie, and how they must escape from the clutches of Miss Slighcarp, the governess of Willoughby Chase, who is after something very dishonest. Sylvia and Bonnie get help from their loyal and helpful friend Simon, who was Bonnie’s friend when times were good.

It is a fairly short book, but it’s worth the read. It’s definitely for younger audiences, but that doesn’t mean older people can’t read it.

 

I would definitely recommend it to people who are interested in a good book to read.

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare is an entertaining book, perfect for the younger audiences.

Matt is a young boy who heads out in the wilderness with his father. They build a cabin. Matt is left behind while Father goes to fetch the rest of the family. Matt becomes friends with Attean, a Native American boy who helps Matt to learn about survival, and true friendship. When Matt’s family doesn’t return when he expects, he can’t be sure whether they ever will. Attean’s tribe decides to move, and Attean invites Matt to join them. Will he choose to leave and be guaranteed a family, or will he choose to keep waiting for his father and other family members to return?

Read the book to find out!
I first read the book in fifth or sixth grade. My youngest siblings recently read it for their English class, and the book is a favorite of our family. It does touch upon racism, but the character in question eventually learns his lesson. I would recommend this book for sure! It is a short book, but has a great storyline, full of adventure, excitement, and friendship.

Nancy Drew Series by Carolyn Keene

This post is about the main series, not any of the spin-offs.

When I was nine, I picked up my first Nancy Drew book. I instantly fell in love, and over the next couple of years, I read them all (I read them out of order but somehow I kept track mentally, so I guess I made it through them as I had thought). I was the family detective, and mysteries were definitely my “thing.” For my tenth birthday, I got my “detective kit” that I had wanted. Oh my, that was definitely a worthwhile gift. I can’t even tell you how much use I got out of it, but it definitely got used (a lot). I do recall getting scared from reading so many mysteries. My grandparent’s house comes from the nineteenth century, and when I would hear a noise, I’d get nervous. But overall, my childhood with Nancy Drew was extremely special. And, of course, I would reread some of them.

Nancy Drew is about an eighteen year old detective with a lot of wits. She somehow manages to solve over sixty mysteries when she is eighteen, and get kidnapped more times than is logical. But, to a little girl, it’s magical.

It’s definitely not a series for older kids. I occasionally pick one up from the library, but rarely get around to reading it. Once, a few years back I started reading one of them (I think it was The Flying Saucer Mystery) and I remember feeling as though it was too young for me. But, you still may see me with one here and there.

This is definitely one of those “child friendly” series from years ago. I would recommend it to any girl who can handle mysteries, ghosts, villains, etc. They are short and there are a lot of them. Definitely worth reading.  Continue reading

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I’ve got exciting news! I finally read the full version of Little Women! I started it on Wednesday the 13th and finished it in the course of a little over a week (my reading time was only about 2-2 1/2 days because I didn’t read every single day and some days I read for hours and hours and others for really small amounts of time). It can be a pretty easy/quick read if you have the time, patience, and can speed read. Some parts are easier to get through than others (because some parts are duller and easy to pay less attention to) but it was extremely good. This post will contain spoilers. 

Little Women was written by Louisa May Alcott. I know Jo is supposed to be the main character (right?), but I feel like each March sister has their own moments, and has their own amount of changes throughout the novel. Little Women is a story about life. We see our beloved characters grow up and become women over the course of about ten years.

The March Sisters:

Meg is the eldest March sister and is about sixteen in the novel’s opening. She desires wealth, beauty, and rich things.

Josephine (Jo) is fifteen in the beginning and is very headstrong, bold, and tomboyish. She eventually wants to be a writer.

Beth is thirteen at the start and is extremely timid, quiet, and sweet. She is the musician. When I was little, Beth was my favorite.

Amy is identified as twelve in the first part of the story. She is the artist of the family and loves to be proper. She really dislikes her nose.

The Other Important Characters: 

Theodore Lawrence (Laurie/Teddy) is Jo’s best friend, Amy’s future husband,  and neighbor of the March family.

Marmee is the loving and kind mother of the “little women.”

Mr. Lawrence is Laurie’s grandfather and is extremely sweet. He and Beth have a special connection.

Mr. John Brooke is Meg’s future husband.

Mr. March is the father of the “little women.” He is at war for some of the novel.

Aunt March is the cranky old aunt of the March family. She does have a good side, and eventually leaves Plumfield to Jo when she passes.

Professor  Friedrich Bhaer is Jo’s future husband. He is German and a sweetheart.

As written above, this is a story about life.  Little Women is frozen in time. It was written long ago, and yet we still read it. But why? Louisa May Alcott’s characters are real. They are not over the top, Lord of the Rings characters. The struggles and hardships the March family faces are not overly absurd. They could happen to any one of us. Any knights in shining armor happen in the imaginations and stories of the characters. The characters all have flaws. Jo is way too headstrong and outspoken. Beth is overly shy. Amy is selfish. Meg isn’t content. This novel is very enjoyable. It is loved by all different ages, and will be loved into the future. Definitely a must-read for every book lover!

The Golden Specific by S.E. Grove (Mapmaker’s Trilogy Book 2)

Can I just say this series is so amazing? The idea is so brilliant, I wish I had thought of it myself! I got my hands on one of the advanced copies for the first book in the series, and though the copy was not the same that they sell in stores, it was still very entertaining.

 

WARNING: SPOILERS MAY BE PRESENT

 

Book two starts up with Sophia Tims still trying to find her parents, who are still missing. A different format than the original, we get to learn Minna and Bronson Tims (Sophia’s parents) story through various diary entries put in the novel. Sophia starts seeing her mother’s ghost like spirit and Minna tells Sophia various one-liners. Sophia also receives some mysterious help, leading her to a library-type establishment. Sophia lies in order to enter it (for only people of a certain religion are allowed to access the resources), taking on the new name of ‘Every Tims’ in order to gain access. She searches documents, and with the help of a mysterious worker, Remorse, Sophia learns that Minna had a diary. Remorse offers to get Sophia passage on a ship, and also lets her take Shadrack Elli, her uncle and guardian, with her. Theo is out with Miles on an adventure, but returns near the novel’s beginning, bringing back a map made by someone with a very similar name to Cabeza de Vaca. Shadrack had declined the idea of leaving with Sophia in search of the diary, so the two children plan on going on their own. A murder occurs, changing the course of plans whether the kids like it or not. Sophia ends up on the ship alone (with not even Remorse) and Theo does some investigating (of the murder) back at home. Sophia gets help from some new friends, and at the novel’s end, we are left with a cliffhanger.

 

I really like this series. The plot is extremely entertaining. Though there are a few less positive parts of the format/style, the plot makes up for it and it is definitely worth reading.

 

When Calls The Heart by Janette Oke

When Calls The Heart is the first book in a series by Janette Oke. I grew up watching (and playing) Little House on the Prairie. We also would watch some of the Love movies (another series by Janette Oke). We found the tv show When Calls the Heart on Netflix, and fell in love with it. We’ve watched almost all three seasons. It is a fantastic tv show.

A few weeks ago I was in a van for a prolonged period of time. I decided to read the book with strong Christian themes,  When Calls The Heart. I finished it in a couple hours (it is only 200 something pages). I now know it is a multi-book series, so I can only write about the first book for now. A full comparison of the books/tv show will have to come later.
The book’s main character is Elizabeth Thatcher. She goes to a town far away from her home to teach and be with her brother, while also meeting an attractive Canadian Mountie named Wynn (in the tv show his name is Jack and he is absolutely amazing 😍).

Spoilers will be present!

Elizabeth is definitely not used to the conditions she faces at her new job. She is sent away from her brother by a vengeful and rejected suitor. She has a very persistent mice problem, and has a bit of a smoke issue with the stove. Elizabeth likes Wynn but gets the wrong idea that he’s married. She does find out that he’s single, and his “wife” is just a relative he’s helping out. The ending is pretty good, because it is inevitable that the two (Elizabeth and Wynn) will be together.

Compared to the tv show, the book really isn’t overly exceptional. It’s definitely a clean romance, but it’s not the best book I’ve ever read. It definitely has some cute romance, but that’s the best part of it. It is kind of dull.
I am going to try to read the rest of the series, but this book is definitely not a book for those who need excitement in a book. It’s an alright book.

The Edge on the Sword by Rebecca Tingle

 

I read this book for the first time in eighth (?) grade. It was exceptional. It doesn’t seem to be very well known, but that doesn’t take away from its quality. The story centers around Flæd, daughter of Alfred the Great. It is historical fiction, and very well written.

Flæd is about fifteen years old. An opposing kingdom is causing trouble. Flæd is assigned a guardian named Red, who teaches her how to defend herself. She runs into some trouble and it is up to her to save herself, and others.


 

I am a fan of old royalty, and adore Europe. This time period/story suits my taste nicely. It takes place before ten thousand A.D. . The novel is well written, exciting, and keeps your interest. I remember reading it at night when a friend was in a text conversation with me. I think I may have chosen the book over him a bit… Anyways, this book deserves more recognition than it has. It is pretty clean; there are only a few things I would warn someone about.

 

*SPOILERS*

I have not read this book cover to cover in a while (I’ve read it at least twice I think), but I remember that there is one part where Flæd has been captured by enemies. Something a little more adult and sexual may be referenced to but it would not have been that bad.

A beloved character (Red) gets killed when a group of good guys are attacked.

This book has to do with weapons/fighting, so I think there is blood and there is death.

Some of the scenes are somewhat intense.

A character  is betrothed.


 

Overall, I think this is appropriate for preteens who can handle some death/war type things. It is really good and worth reading!

Jo’s Boys (Louisa May Alcott)

Jo’s Boys is the third and last novel about the March Family (and special friends). It was written by the well known author Louisa May Alcott. It is a pretty clean novel, but I would not necessarily suggest it for a younger child (more on this below).

 

Before getting into the details, I need to explain something. Though this book was pretty good, I was confused at times. The biggest reason for this is that when I read this book, I had never read the full version of Little Women or Little Men. I read an adapted version of Little Women (which doesn’t cover the entire plot line), and I saw the musical twice (which is, by the way, a fantastic musical). That was sufficient to understand the novel partially, but I have never read Little Men, which was where I had the most trouble. I might have read a summary of the novel, but whether I did or not doesn’t change the fact that Little Men is fairly essential to understanding Jo’s Boys. The reason is that Jo’s Boys covers the stories of some children first introduced in Little Men. Jo’s Boys has so many random characters that it’s hard to keep track of who is related to who.  For instance, there are a bunch of young men and women: Josie, Daisy, Demi, Rob, Teddy/Ted, Rob, Dora, Mary, Emil, Dan, Nan, Tom, etc. Although not all of them are first introduced in Little Men, it is much easier to save yourself the confusion by 1) reading the books before 2) reading a summary.

 

*MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS* 

Plot: The story centers around Plumfield once again. Its characters include: Jo March Bhaer (main character), Professor Bhaer (Jo’s husband), Meg March Brook, Amy March Lawrence, Theodore “Lawrie” Lawrence, and many more. There are a lot of different mini plot lines within the whole novel, and it would take decades (ok that’s not entirely true) to get through each story individually, so I will just cover some main elements.

Points worth mentioning:

  1.  There are a lot of romances, which are pretty clean and charming.
  2. There are a few moments which are perilous for the characters, but it all seems to turn out okay.
  3. A character murders someone (I think it was manslaughter and maybe self defense).
  4. A boy who isn’t particularly righteous has a crush on a girl very much out of his league, but nothing really happens except a talk about it, he has her picture, and it was decided it is harmless for him to like her (he doesn’t do anything to her. She is fine).
  5. Characters don’t always make the right choices, but most (if not all) repent.

 

 

Like I said, it is a book with half a million mini plot lines, so it would be hard to cover each and every little thing. I’d steer clear of it for younger readers, unless an adult reads it to them or those elements don’t bother their parents. It is a good book overall, though not as good as Little Women.

 

Update: After reading Little Men (second in series), the third book makes a lot more sense. I want to reread Jo’s Boys someday when I can fully appreciate the characters. What is weird is that Dan loves Bess, and Dan is probably close to 10-12 years older than her. I guess sometimes boys like girls way younger than they are, but Bess is very young when they first meet. Also, Dan’s friendship with Ted (Jo’s son) starts at a very young age.