Author Archives: booklearner

About booklearner

booklearner is a Christian, aspiring voice over artist, and author of the blog "booklearned: Life with Books." She also volunteers as a narrator for under the name 'thestorygirl.'

May 2019 Scavenger Word List

Not to inundate with word lists, but I’m trying to catch up before the month gets too carried away..

Every month (and other alternative timelines), The Lost Challenges provide new scavenger lists of up to 50 words to look for while reading whatever you choose to read (for example, the current list includes the word “embellish”). If I come across that word while reading, I mark it down. It’s fun to see how many I can find by the end of the month. This works well if you have more than one book going at a time like me, or read very fast. I do it along with another person I know and we compare lists to see who found the most words.

1. Accent ~ “Yes, monsieur, quite so,” he replied, with a strong German accent.  [Arsene Lupin Versus Herlock Sholmes]

2. Alto ~

3. Bar ~ I turn to the bar lying on the ground in front of me: forty-five pounds of iron with two big twenty-five pound, rubber-padded plates stacked on the ends.  [This Is My Body]

4. Bass ~

5. Beat ~ I’d come to CrossFit to prepare my body for the beating it would take at the triathlon coming up in November.  [TIMB]

6. Blues ~ She stepped into his office without invitation and looked about with appraising blue eyes, her beauty undimmed by the passage of time.  [Love’s Awakening]

7. Brass ~ It was quite a large room, scrupulously clean, and presented a cheerful appearance with its varnished woodwork and polished brass.  [ALvHS]

8. Choir ~

9. County ~ And he was honest enough to admit he wanted to ingratiate himself with the most respected man in Allegheny County by bringing his beloved daughter home unharmed.  [LA]

10. Dance ~ This our, plural, reflects in the Christian interpretation the idea that God is not a lonely singularity but a community of three– a Trinity engaged in a constant dance of love, each member of the three moving in perfect, harmonious response to the others.  [TIMB]

11. Dominant ~

12. Drum ~ “Its citizens spend the Sabbath drinking, dueling, partying, and presenting slave dances to African drums in the public squares.”  [LA]

13. Duet ~

14. Eighth ~ A gift from his grandfather on his eighth birthday.  [LA]

15. Embellish ~ Ellie made a slight shadow in her ivory shawl, the lace embellishments shining beneath the light of moon and lantern.  [LA]

16. Encore ~

17. Flag ~ She dug for her handkerchief and dangled it before him like a white flag of truce, wondering if her family had erred in writing them off.  [LA]

18. Flat ~ As it was now almost dark, he walked close behind her and followed her into a five-story house of double flats and, therefore, occupied by numerous tenants.  [ALvHS]

19. Flute ~ A fluted glass held cherry pudding.  [LA]

20. Form ~ I observed his hands: they had been formed from a model of exceeding delicacy, long and slender; inoffensive, truly; and the hands of an artist…  [ALvHS]

21. Genre ~

22. Glee ~ He rubbed his hand, gleefully, at the thought that his duel with Lupin was drawing to a close, and he could not see any serious obstacle in the way of his success.  [ALvHS]

23. Grave ~ “One would imagine you were speaking over the grave of a friend.” [ALvHS]

24. Guitar ~ Friends and family came, and our reception featured local food and a swirling dance where fiddles, dulcimers, and guitars kept time together.  [TIMB]

25. Half ~A half hour passed away.  [ALvHS]

26. Harmony ~ A number of sandwich-men were parading through the street, one behind the other, carrying heavy canes with iron ferrules with which they struck the pavement in harmony, and, on their backs, they carried large posters, on which one could read the following notice: THE MATCH BETWEEN HERLOCK SHOLMES AND ARSENE LUPIN. ARRIVAL OF THE ENGLISH DETECTIVE CHAMPION. THE GREAT DETECTIVE ATTACKS THE MYSTERY OF THE BLUE DIAMOND. READ THE DETAILS IN THE ÉCHO DE FRANCE.'” [ALvHS]

27. Hymn ~ Someone was humming… a hymn?  [LA]

28. Improvise ~ Instead I began– in fits and starts with improvisations and tangents– to become a part of a bigger story.  [TIMB]

29. Interval ~ The crowd had grown larger, and Sholmes perceived only at intervals the accomplices of Arsene Lupin.  [ALvHS]

30. Jazz ~ Earnest and hardworking, he grew salad greens and educated customers about the virtues of biodynamic farming while his two children, named after jazz singers, played among the vendors.  [TIMB]

31. Key ~ In a small satchel, the key to which was always carried by the consul himself, they found a bottle of dentifrice, and in that bottle they found the ring.  [ALvHS]

32. Loud ~ The sale was attended by all those who usually appear at similar events in Paris; those who buy, and those who make a pretense of being able to buy; bankers, brokers, artists, women of all classes, two cabinet ministers, an Italian tenor, an exiled king who, in order to maintain his credit, bid, with much ostentation, and in a loud voice, as high as one hundred thousand francs.  [ALvHS]

33. Lyric ~

34. Major ~ I’d been an environmentalist from a young age; my first major school paper in ninth grade was a review of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring, a classic of the environmental movement that led to the ban of the pesticide DDT.  [TIMB]

35. Measure ~ “Arsene Lupin, satisfied that he has given them a mild reproof, hopes these gentlemen will not force him to resort to more stringent measures.” [ALvHS]

36. Natural ~ “Wilson, you should conceal your astonishment at an incident which is one of the most natural in the world.” [ALvHS]

37. Note ~ “Yes; I received your note at the tavern.” [ALvHS]

38. Organ ~ “It refers to the Echo de France, Lupin’s newspaper, his official organ, the one in which he publishes his communications.” [ALvHS]

39. Phrase ~ He stood for a moment, silent, with staring eyes, and then muttered, in short, sharp phrases: “Yes, that’s it… that will explain all… right at my feet… and I didn’t see it… ah, parbleu!  I should have thought of it before…” [ALvHS]

40. Pitch ~ He was roused to a high pitch of excitement.  [ALvHS]

41. Play ~ To entertain her friends, the countess seated herself at the piano to play for them, after first placing her jewels on a small table near the pano, and, amongst them, was the ring of the Baron d’Hautrec.  [ALvHS]

42. Practice ~ He has perfected his form through daily practice spent moving his body closer and closer to the ideal form for each lift.  [TIMB]

43. Record ~ “Yesterday I came here to search the cupboard that contains all of Monsieur Destange’s old papers and records.” [ALvHS]

44. Rest ~ “You can buy some underwear and linen to replenish our wardrobe, while I take a rest.”  [ALvHS]

45. Rhythm ~ And yet even in the healing environment of this conviviality, I began to feel like the pace of urban life– an 8-hr workday spent twiddling time away before a blue screen– was out of pace with the rhythm of a truly human life.  [TIMB]

46. Score ~He knocked out the ashes, filled it, lighted it, pulled the skirts of his dressing-gown over his knees and drew from his pipe great puffs of smoke which ascended toward the ceiling in scores of shadow rings.  [ALvHS]

47. Sharp ~ There was a sharp, desperate struggle, in the course of which Sholmes suspected that the man was trying to draw a knife.  [ALvHS]

48. Song ~ “I’m half the man I used to be” goes the old Stone Temple Pilots song, and the ascetics believed exactly this: that sin eats away at what is truly human and leaves us as half hollow-persons.  [TIMB]

49. Time ~ “It is, moreover, the length of time that I require to make preparations for my safety in case the solution of that affair should give you certain dangerous advantages over me.”  [ALvHS]

50. Voice ~ see Loud

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Posted by on June 7, 2019 in Scavenger Word Lists



Book Review: “The Blue Castle,” by L. M. Montgomery

*See Note

Genre: romance; classic


Plot Summary: 29-year old Valancy Stirling takes stock of her uneventful life.  All she has ever known is a grey, dull existence with no real love of her own.  Her favorite fantasy is to dream of her very own ‘blue castle’ in which everything is just as she would wish and she entertains a string of handsome suitors.  But then she gets a shocking medical diagnosis that changes her perspective on everything.  What will she do with the rest of her life?

My Book Review: L. M. Montgomery has been a favorite author of mine since way back.  I grew up with her as a teenager, convinced that I was a Montgomery heroine myself.  I’ve read almost all of her novels, but still have a few more of the Anne series and one or two obscure works to cover.  I purposefully waited to read “The Blue Castle” until I was the same age as the main character– I always like to identify with the characters I’m reading about.  However, I’d been a little bored with the last Anne book I’d read (“Anne of Ingleside”) and was not sure how I would like this one, especially since it is less known.

I absolutely loved this, as it turned out to be such a sweet gem of a story!  There are almost three parts to Valancy’s journey but I don’t want to put major spoilers here.  At first I was unsure I would become so attached because the first third details Valancy’s bitterness about life and her lack of familial love.  But a few plot twists I never saw coming changed the whole thing, both for Valancy and for me as a reader.  I began to wonder how I might react to the news that I had a fatal disease, and it was interesting to see Valancy’s attitude go from self-pity to acting on her new self-discovery.  Who might we become if we really acted on what we thought or felt on the inside?

Valancy finds love—not among her joy-robbing relatives that she’s known her whole life, but among the outcasts of society. She decides to spend her life acting on her compassion, and in so doing mirrors Jesus’ actions toward the lepers, the dying, and those of scandalous reputation.  Her blue castle no longer becomes her ideal, but a little ramshackle cabin in the sticks becomes her wonderful reality.  She spends so much time enjoying living in the here and now, that she forgets about her impending sentence.

I found the story to be so beautiful and it gave me much food for thought. Not to mention, I got a good laugh out of some of her relations!  Set during the 1920’s, it’s definitely a lot different from Montgomery’s other tales, but I’m sure it will become a new favorite for you as it now is with me.

*Note- This is one of those instances where you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.  This is not a Harlequin romance novel, like this popular book cover above indicates.  Nor does Valancy have brown hair and wear 1980’s nighties.  And the hero of the story does not look one bit like a Ken Barbie doll!  No, below are pictures closer to what I picture them to look like (even though their dress and age may be a bit off)…

If you liked this book, I also recommend…


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Posted by on June 5, 2019 in Book Reviews


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Christian Fiction for Summer 2019!

Memorial Day is the traditional start of the summer season here in the US but first we honor our soldiers, especially those who gave their lives for our country.  It may seem odd many choose to do so by going on vacation, but however we choose to celebrate our freedom is a way to honor the sacrifices made.

If you’re in need of a beach read, a country read, a plane or car ride read or just any ol’ summer read, here are the latest I’m eyeing that were featured in the CBD Fiction catalog of Summer 2019 (view entirely here).  I believe there have been more books peaking my interest in this issue than ever before!

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Posted by on May 26, 2019 in Uncategorized


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April 2019 Scavenger Word List

Every month (and other alternative timelines), The Lost Challenges provide new scavenger lists of up to 50 words to look for while reading whatever you choose to read (for example, the current list includes the word “finger”). If I come across that word while reading, I mark it down. It’s fun to see how many I can find by the end of the month. This works well if you have more than one book going at a time like me, or read very fast. I do it along with another person I know and we compare lists to see who found the most words.

Once again I’m belatedly posting last month’s word list.  I didn’t find as many this time around, and got skunked by my word hunter-partner.

1. Alley ~

2. Approach ~ “Have you any letter for the post, Miss Halcombe?” he asked, approaching me, with the bag.  [The Woman in White]

3. Automatic ~

4. Bag ~Another reason (if I had wanted one) for not trusting my letters to the post-bag in the hall.  [WiW]

5. Ball ~ Thtat’s like a ball for a gorilla in the zoo: entertainment in a cage.  [This Is My Body]

6. Beer ~ “Can I have a beer, Dad?” said Luke, coming into the kitchen.  [Ashenden]

7. Blind ~ When I ventured to look up at the windows itself, I found that the top of it only was open, and that the blind inside was drawn down.  [WiW]

8. Block ~ I hurt, I am exhausted, but I also feel like my body has begun to tap into a purpose and reality I could never find in an office chair or even in a jog around the block.  [TIMB]

9. Blow ~ “It breaks the blow, by meeting it half way, and so on.” [WiW]

10. Bowling ~ Malcolm’s spirits kept rising as they bowled over the bright, cold water.  [The Marquis’ Secret]

11. Clean ~ “Keep her, I tell you; and have a woman in from the village to do the cleaning, and go away again.”  [WiW]

12. Creeper ~

13. Curve ~ When he reached the top, they were just vanishing round a curve, when his advance was checked.  [TMS]

14. Finger ~ “I could draw your secret out of you if you liked, as I draw this finger out of the palm of my hand– you know I could!”  [WiW]

15. Foul ~

16. Frame ~ “Next comes a young gentleman– but this is a picture in another frame, although of the same night– a young gentleman in evening dress, sipping his wine warm and comfortable in the bland temper that should follow the best of dinners, his face beaming with satisfaction after some boast concerning himself or with silent success in the concoction of one or two compliments to have at hand when he joins the ladies in the drawing room.”  [TMS]

17. Gutter ~ I believed that to be an obese person was to be as much of an addict as any gutter alcoholic.  [TIMB]

18. Hand ~ Laura was sitting alone at the far end of the of the room, her arms resting wearily on a table, and her face hidden in her hands.  [WiW]

19. Head ~ Over this, I put my black travelling cloak, and pulled the hood on to my head.  [WiW]

20. Hole ~ Close against one side of it, under shelter of the projecting roof, I discovered a little hole in the sand,– a hole artificially made, beyond a doubt.  [WiW]

21. Hook ~ In the kitchen, he bolted the door leading to the garden, and, in the vestibule, he not only locked the door but hooked the chain as well.  [Arsene Lupin Versus Herlock Sholmes]

22. Lane ~

23. Lift ~ “My exalted sentiments lift me above it.” [WiW]

24. Loft ~ Yet all the time she had a doubt whether this young man, whom it would certainly be improper to encourage by addressing from any level but one of lofty superiority, did not belong to a higher sphere than theirs; while certainly no man could be more unpresuming or less forward, even when opposing this opinion to theirs.  [TMS]

25. Miss ~ “When he noticed, just now, that I looked distressed, it was my painful duty to tell him why I was distressed; and I frankly acknowledge to you, Miss Halcombe, that I have told him.”  [TMS]

26. Mixer ~

27. Open ~ In my haste and agitation, I left the door of the antechamber open– but I closed the door of the bedroom the moment I was inside it.  [WiW]

28. Perfect ~ I am threatened, if I fail to exert myself in the manner required, with consequences which I cannot so much as think of, without perfect prostration.  [WiW]

29. Pin ~

30. Pit ~ In other words, he descended immediately into a bottomless pit of confusion; and the Young Person followed him down.  [WiW]

31. Pocket ~ He stalked out into the verandah, put his hands in his pockets, and resumed the ‘recitativo of Moses,’ sotto voce, in the garden.  [WiW]

32. Rake ~

33. Reset ~

34. Roll ~ The gardener had heard him shouting and cursing att he lodge-keeper to get up and open the gate– had heard the wheels roll furiously on again, in the still of the night, when the gate was unlocked– and knew no more.  [WiW]

35. Score ~

36. Set ~ He brought on board with him a lad of Peter’s acquaintance and, now fully manned, they set sail again and by the time the sun appeared were not far from Peterhead.  [TMS]

37. Shirt ~ I was wearing a T-shirt I liked that had become a bit too small over the winter.  [TIMB]

38. Shoes ~ “Do her shoes creak?”  [WiW]

39. Soda ~ The station stands just before the last seven-mile stretch, floodlights in the woods illuminating tables stacked withe peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, pickles, pretzels, gummy bears, Gatorade, soda, and water.  [TISB]

40. Spare ~ The first window belonged to a spare room, which was empty.  [WiW]

41. Split ~ Sausage and mash was a dish that hardly depended on split-second timing; even so, having the constituent parts ready within something approximating the same hour was proving a challenge.  [Ash.]

42. Straight ~ “Then, of course,” said Izzie, “you’ve also got to be perfectly straight with them.”  [Ash.]

43. Stand ~ “Stand back, Lizzy!” cried Malcolm.  [TMS]

44. Strike ~ So cold, so cold– oh, that rain last night!– and the strokes of the clock, the strokes I can’t count, keep striking in my head–  [WiW]

45. Sweep ~ Sweeping, incisive denunciation, logic and poetry combining in one torrent of genuine eloquence, poured confusion and dismay upon head and heart of all those who set themselves up for pillars of the church without first practicing the first principles of the doctrine of Christ.  [TMS]

46. Target ~ This form of “stalking” is an effective way to keep track of your targets, which could include current and prospective customers, competitors, or organizations with which you are seeking employment.  [The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success]

47. Team ~

48. Ten ~ I made no memorandum at the time, and I cannot therefore be sure to a day, of the date; but I believe I am correct in stating that Miss Halcombe’s serious illness began during the last fortnight or ten days in June.  [WiW]

49. Towel ~ When I finish my run this morning, I’m sweating so much I have to lay out a towel on the car seat to keep the fabric from getting soaked.  [TIMB]

50. Turkey ~ With rats and mice, cats and owls and creaks and cracks, there was no quiet about the place from night to morning; and with swallows and rooks, cocks and kine, horses and foals, dogs and pigeons, turkeys and geese and every farm creature but pigs– which, with all her zootrophy, Clementina did not like– no quiet from morning to night.  [TMS]



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Posted by on May 22, 2019 in Scavenger Word Lists



Random Books Post: Yard Sale Season Begins

Hi, there~ Yard Sale Season has officially begun but I haven’t had the opportunity to get out there as much as I have the past couple of years.  Even when I have I’ve mostly found cool craft items.  Still, I have found a couple books here and there which I will post below:

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Posted by on May 13, 2019 in Book Shopping


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Top Ten Tuesday: Characters That Remind Me of Myself

This is a “Top Ten Tuesday” exercise…


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Posted by on May 7, 2019 in Top Ten Tuesday


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Book Review: “Just Jane,” by Nancy Moser


Genre: historical fiction; Inspirational Christian fiction

Plot Summary: The youngest daughter of the vicar of the small village of Steventon, Jane leads a pleasantly ordinary life full of friends, town gossip, balls, and family relationships.  She longs for a romantic relationship as well, but Providence doesn’t seem to be providing that.  As the years go by, she matures to find her own voice that she develops in writing some of literature’s more beloved heroines.  This is her story.

My Book Review: I have stacks of books by Nancy Moser I want to read, and I finally tackled my first as an “in between book” (book read while waiting for other books to arrive via Interlibrary Loan).  I have read a few books written by Austen fans meant to be “sequels” to her works, but to be honest I have never cared much for them and don’t go in for them anymore.  I thought this would be a little different in that it is a fictionalized telling of Jane Austen’s life.

The first third of the book did not really have my attention.  It was hard to get used to the first person/present tense narrative, and I disliked Jane’s immature voice.  It just wasn’t how I imagined her.  However, she matures as the story progresses and Jane and her sister Cassandra endure many hardships over the years.  In some ways, I found I could identify.  Moving away from a home one loves; moving multiple times; financial hardships; family quarrels…  In a lot of ways, Jane wasn’t a lot different than the average “jane”.  I loved the theme of the book—Jane struggles to find her own meaning and purpose in life in an age where women’s only status was that of matrimony.  Jane had several offers and therefore opportunities to “better” herself in the world’s eyes.  But she had an overriding factor in the midst of all of it that was common sense driven by her faith.  What a true-life heroine for our young girls to follow!

I came away from the book with a deep appreciation for Jane Austen than I ever have before.  She really gleaned truth and wisdom from her life experiences and packaged them into her fiction.  She may have felt like only an obscure, single woman at times, but she lived her life faithfully and it had such an impact on the lives of countless generations of ladies ever afterwards.  It is sad when some only celebrate her stories for their romance and ridiculous characters; sometimes it seems they capitalize so much on that aspect that one’s impression of Austen books is that they are shallow, bawdy, and titilizing (I believe she would be rolling in her grave if she knew).  But the real essence of Austen is her good sense, wise living and humorous observations of humanity.  They are stories we can all learn from.

Bottom line: If you are hungry for more all-things Austen… if you disliked Masterpiece’s “Miss Austen Regrets”… if you would benefit from a wholesome story of a real-life heroine…

I think you will like this.

I also recommend:

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Posted by on May 5, 2019 in Book Reviews


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