In the Bookcase


Book Review: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (5 star review)

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

written by Jules Verne

394 pages // published in 1869 // science fiction, nautical adventure


French naturalist Dr. Aronnax embarks on an expedition to hunt down a sea monster, only to discover instead the Nautilus, a remarkable submarine built by the enigmatic Captain Nemo. Together Nemo and Aronnax explore the underwater marvels, undergo a transcendent experience amongst the ruins of Atlantis, and plant a black flag at the South Pole. But Nemo's mission is one of revenge-and his methods coldly efficient.

My Review

5 Star Rating

There's so denying it, I enjoyed reading Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. In some ways, this fact surprises me, as it does have some dry moments... but really? It is an amazing, thrilling seafaring adventure that you just can't get anywhere else. It's worth a read (and I could see myself reading it again one day).

Just listen to what Captain Nemo has to say in invitation to see the underwater sights...

“Let me tell you, professor, you won't regret the time you spend aboard my vessel. You're going to voyage through a land of wonders. Stunned amazement will probably be your habitual state of mind. It will be a long while before you tire of the sights constantly before your eyes. I'm going to make another underwater tour of the world....”

Reader, ask yourself what wouldn't you pay to be a part of this grand voyage? Now let's put it this way... Would you give up all rights to ever leave the ship again? To be trapped, not unlike a prisoner, on a submarine that will show you epic sights never beholden by any other eyes? Well, Professor Aronnax isn't given the opportunity of choice, but fate lands him (and his two companions) on the Nautilus, with strict instruction that they will never become landlubbers again.

To make it all the more worth the sacrifice of dry land (and the society of people), we soon arrive in the Captain's library... and it's gorgeous! Just you wait, dear reader, it's one of those gobsmackingly amazing libraries that just may be worth dying for.

For a book originally published back in 1869 (nigh upon 150 years ago), Jules Verne sure had a handle on our modern amenities. Whether the elements he included in this novel where from scientific knowledge, or just imagination... he hit the nail on the head many times. Verne fully understood the capabilities of a ship that runs on electricity (and all the 'little things' that electricity improves in our lives).

Also included in the story are a small handful of far-fetched ideas of sea creatures and some terrifying monsters. The sci-fi elements continue; it's pretty thrilling. There are even a few really scary moments where I was desperately scared for certain individuals' lives. Then there are moments of Victorian wittiness to relish in, and other unexpected fun bits... like taking a nap during an underwater 'hike', or just deciding willy-nilly that you're going to visit the South Pole tomorrow.

“'But the sun--'
'The sun isn't enough, Conseil. Can it restore heat to a corpse?'
'Not that I've heard.'”

Note to the discerning/Christian reader: The belief of Creationism is ignored. The scientific methods that are employed in this book disregard Biblical time periods. Also, I didn't find much of any foul language in the book, just once – it mentions the names of mother-of-pearl colors, two of which use a word I certainly didn't expect to see.

There is at least one epic battle (maybe two), where much slaughter takes place. It's a bit gruesome. So if you have to skim, I won't blame you.

Now then, yes... there is a lot of (what some readers may call) 'boring' content, where the science mode is turned on so brightly that it could feel like you're reading a textbook. Honestly, this didn't bother me in the least; I ate it up. I'm pretty sure I picked a few new facts about undersea life too!

Overall? Wow. What an expedition that was for me to experience through the pages of a book. I'd happily go through it all again too.

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hardcover // paperback // ebook

This is book #4 for me in the Back to the Classics 2018 challenge.
[CATEGORY: Classic in Translation]

P.S. Like and vote for this review on Goodreads and Amazon.


Kids/YA Sci-Fi Reading List -- for Christian families!

Summertime is arriving! Maybe you're looking for some great books that your kids can enjoy reading this summer... Well, I've collected some of my favorite Christian Sci-fi series for kids + young adults (well, who am I kidding -- adults can enjoy these books too!)...

Quality Sci-Fi Books for Christian Readers

Can quality books in the Sci-fi genre truly be written with your God-fearing children in mind? Can stories actually exist... that while they do incorporate fantastic journeys through outer space (which feels like the impossible), can still be God-honoring and reflect well on Biblical Creation? YES! I'm talking about stories that ignite visions of bravery, adventure, and defeat of evil -- from a Christian perspective!

Here's my list of Christian Sci-fi series that my family has enjoyed over the years!
All but 1 are stories that take place far in the future.


6 to 9 Year-olds will love...

AstroKids series
by Robert Elmer

10 books // about 100 pages each //
originally published from 2000-2002

Biblical truths amid fun, galaxial adventures for young readers!


10 to 14 Year-olds will love...

Hyperlinkz series
by Robert Elmer

6 books // about 125 pages each //
originally published from 2004-2005

These 12-year-old twins don't travel to outer space, but instead through hyperspace!
*Present day story, not in the future


Mars Diaries series
by Sigmund Brouwer

10 books // about 130 pages each //
originally published from 2000-2002

Intrigue on Mars. Virtual reality. Boy on wheels. Robots.

[later reprinted as...]

Robot Wars series
by Sigmund Brouwer

5 books // about 300 pages each //
originally published in 2009


Daystar Voyages series
by Gilbert Morris & Dan Meeks

10 books // about 150 pages each //
originally published from 1998-2000

Expelled students of the Intergalactic Academy form the Daystar's crew and visit weird and intriguing places around the universe.


Seven Sleepers series
by Gilbert Morris

10 books // about 150 pages each //
originally published from 1994-1997

NOTE: I personally haven't read this series YET, but have enjoyed Morris's other books, and trust this one will be great too.

[if you enjoy these books, try the series sequel...]

Seven Sleepers: The Lost Chronicles series
by Gilbert Morris

7 books // about 160 pages each //
originally published in 2000


Teens/Young Adults will love...

Firmament series
by J. Grace Pennington

5+ books // about 200 pages each //
originally published from 2012-ongoing

This is one of my FAVORITES on the list. The writing style is spectacular. Can't wait for the next book to come out!


Unaccepted series
by Aubrey Hansen

1+ books // about 150 pages each //
originally published from 2011-ongoing

When 17-year-old Philadelphia and her father arrive on Mars, she discovers quite an enigmatic science projects being kept under wraps -- and has moral decisions to make.


Destiny Trilogy series
by Sarah Holman

3+ books // about 200 pages each //
originally published from 2011-2015

It starts with Maria Morris just asking God what she should do in her life, and ends with fighting to save the whole galaxy.


Shadowside Trilogy series
by Robert Elmer

3 books // about 330 pages each //
originally published from 2007-2009

NOTE: I personally haven't read this series YET, but I have enjoyed Elmer's other books, and trust this one will be great too.


What other Christian Sci-Fi series/books do you like???

May Discussion


Book Review: The Valley of Fear

The Valley of Fear (4 star review)

The Valley of Fear
Sherlock Holmes series

written by Arthur Conan Doyle

224 pages // published in 1915 // classic crime fiction


'There should be no combination of events for which the wit of man cannot conceive an explanation.'

In this tale drawn from the note books of Dr Watson, the deadly hand of Professor Moriarty once more reaches out to commit a vile and ingenious crime. However, a mole in Moriarty's frightening criminal organization alerts Sherlock Holmes of the evil deed by means of a cipher.

When Holmes and Watson arrive at a Sussex manor house they appear to be too late. The discovery of a body suggests that Moriarty's henchmen have been at their work. But there is much more to this tale of murder than at first meets the eye and Sherlock Holmes is determined to get to the bottom of it.

My Review

4 Star Rating

Admittedly, this is a creepy story (or rather the second half is). Part I is greatly enjoyable -- a basic Sherlock Holmes mystery (had plenty of intrigue, and utilized the same pattern that most of the canon follows). However, Part II? I'm not crazy over it, that's for sure. The cult following in Vermissa Valley kept reminding me of the R.L. Stevenson's The Suicide Club (perhaps because I just read that one a month ago), based on it's cult conspiracy level. It's deep. And dark. Of course, it helps you to finish putting the puzzle pieces together from Part I of the story, but still... whew!

Anyways, I'm glad to have this novel under my belt. Not sure if I'll be especially eager to re-read this one later on -- but you never know!

Available on Amazon in hardcover, paperback, paperback, and (FREE!) ebook format,
starting at $6.99.

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This is book #3 for me in the Back to the Classics 2018 challenge.
[CATEGORY: Classic Crime Story]

P.S. Like and vote for this review on Goodreads and Amazon.


FREE audiobooks from AudioFile Sync has begun!!

Yay! I look forward to this moment every summer now... when I get to download 2 free audiobooks from the AudioFile website -- every week -- all summer long!

Check out the very first titles available in 2018. Grab them now, because these 2 won't be here much longer...

A Study in Charlotte 
by Brittany Cavallaro

The Great War
by David Almond, John Boyne, Tracy Chevalier,
Ursula Dubosarsky, Timothée de Fombelle


Mount TBR Checkpoint, 2018 Vol. 1

At the end of March, I'd finished 29 books for the Mount TBR challenge. (Since I'm trying for 100 this year, I'm 4 books ahead of schedule. #awesome)

Here's some highlights so far from all that reading...


This is just such a pretty cover, with a Victorian flair. I love Lady Almina's side-portrait, and the intriguing and detailed castle-scape. Beautifully done, in my opinion. Even that blue color behind the title is the perfect shade.


Anne Shirley. Yes, this was my second time reading 'Anne' -- and I rarely do that. But I read this novel oh-so-long ago in the almost-forgotten days of my childhood (#wink), and I knew I'd forgotten so much of the story since then. I picked up on so many nuances of Anne's character and imagination, that I certainly didn't notice as my younger self. She's certainly spirited!


Seasonal TBR Challenge: Spring Edition

The Goal: Read these 12 books off my shelves by June 21.

My Seasonal TBR Challenge (Spring) List:
  1. The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle
  2. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
  3. When Calls the Heart by Janette Oke
  4. Hunting for Hidden Gold by Franklin Dixon
  5. Burden of Honor by Lee Roddy
  6. Mission Atomic by Sarwat Chadda
  7. Vinegar Boy by Alberta Hawse
  8. The Suicide Club by Robert Louis Stevenson
  9. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  10. Dash by Kirby Larson

*The list on this page will be updated with review links as I finish reading each title.

Want to see what was on my Winter TBR list? I read 12 of 12.