Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Mansfield Park: Read-Along: Week 2



This is week 2 of our read-along. Check out our host Amber's blog Seasons of Humility for all of the details and for her views of this week's reading.

Quotes that stirred my laughter or ire:

"Sleeping or waking, my head has been full of this matter all night. It is an evil, but I am certainly making it less than it might be." Oh Edmund! As a clergyman you ought to know that that isn't the way it goes! To him who knows what is right and doesn't do it, to him that is sin...Ack! And when we find ourselves making excuses for behavior we know is wrong...RUN AWAY!

"Edmund had descended from that moral elevation which he had maintained before, and they were both as much the better as the happier for the descent." Witness ruined Edmund! He should have been the voice of reason and the moral upholder of the group. This shows we all have our weaknesses. Eeep!

"All felt the instantaneous conviction...each with an altered countenance was looking at some other, and almost each was feeling it a stroke the most unwelcome, most ill-timed most appalling!" Isn't this the way when faced with our wrong-doing? They all knew what they were doing was wrong and would not be approved by Sir Thomas, but since he was away the mice would play! 

"Mrs. Norris felt herself defrauded of an office on which she had always depended, whether his arrival or his death were to be the thing unfolded; and was now trying to be in a bustle without having anything to bustle about, and labouring to be important where nothing was wanted but tranquillity and silence." Oh Mrs. Norris! Poor thing is just as foolish as the kids!

"Mr. Rushworth could be silent no longer, "I do not say he is not gentleman-like, considering; but you should tell your father he is not above five feet eight, or he will be expecting a well-looking man." 

"Sir Thomas did not quite understand this, and looked with some surprise at the speaker. "If I must say what I think, " continued Mr. Rushworth, "in my opinion it is very disagreeable to be always rehearsing. It is having too much of a good thing. I am not so fond of acting as I was at first. I think we are a great deal better employed, sitting comfortably here among ourselves, and doing nothing." First off...bwahahahahahahahahahaha! I agree, sitting here doing nothing is so much better Mr. Rushworth! Secondly, poor Maria, but she probably deserves this man!

"You must really begin to harden yourself to the idea of being worth looking at. You must try not to mind growing up into a pretty woman." Again, bwahahahahahahahaha! Could Edmund be beginning to take notice of Fanny besides being like a sister to him?

"Upon my word, Fanny, you are in high luck to meet with such attention and indulgence! You ought to be very much obliged to Mrs. Grant for thinking of you, and to your aunt for letting you go, and you ought to look upon it as something extraordinary; for I hope you are aware that there is no real occasion for your going into company in this sort of way, or ever dining out at all; and it is what you must not depend upon ever being repeated. nor must you be fancying that the invitation is meant as any particular compliment to you; the compliment is intended to your uncle and aunt and me." Where's my angry face emoticon when I need it?! Mrs. Norris is horrid! 

Thoughts:

Well things did get a tad bit interesting in these chapters. And as much as Sir Thomas seems to have brought a pall over the household I kind of like him! He knows how to keep his family in line and curtail any shenanigans! He also seems to be more fair to Fanny and more aware of her than the two aunts. Whom I rather loathe! Lady Bertram is an indolent, insipid kind of person and Mrs. Norris is odious! Oh beware of your heart Fanny where Mr. Crawford is concerned! I hope he doesn't turn her head or heart. So cruel of him to even try! I do not like the Crawford's one bit! Mary marrying Mr. Rushworth and having no love whatsoever for him is sad. Even when her father gave her an out(sort of) she chose to marry him for the connection instead of love. I will never understand people that have to put others "in there place" like Mrs. Norris insists on putting Fanny. It is cruel and mean and hateful and spiteful and so much more...definitely do not like this woman!

Questions from Amber: 

1. If you were one of Maria's parents, what might you have said to her before the wedding?

Probably what my dad and father-in-law offered me before I got married, "It isn't too late to call it off!" hahahahahahaha!

2. What are your thoughts on the friendship between Fanny and Miss Crawford? What would you recommend to improve their relationship?I think that Miss Crawford is just toying with Fanny and using her to get close to Edmund. I don't think there is any real friendship there. Fanny doesn't care for her and she doesn't really care for Fanny except as an ends to a means. I hope this relationship doesn't improve so I wouldn't be the one to ask about improving it because I would recommend dissolving it!

3. Consider Mr. Crawford's sudden interest in Fanny or Edmund's admiration of Miss Crawford. What makes them so attractive to these guys? What would you consider to be valid reasons for falling in love?Mr. Crawford is a bored young man that has nothing better to do than mess with people he shouldn't and leave disaster in his wake. Edmund is infatuated with Miss Crawford because it seems that she is the first woman to ever intrigue him. She may be attracted to him, but his attachment to the clergyship is something that she will never put up with, there isn't enough of a living in it for her. Valid reasons for falling in love? Money and prestige! Bwahahahaha! Attraction, common interests, compatibility, the ability to spur one another to reach your full potential. Falling in love is one thing(and an easy thing), staying in love is something else! Growing in love over the years is so much better than that first falling in love phase. There are a lot of valid reasons for falling in love, but staying in love through life's hardships, supporting each other in sickness and in health, being faithful to your spouse, loving them even when life gets ugly...THAT is what makes a person fall in love with their spouse every single day of their life together. 

Join us again next week for our week 3 discussion of chapters 25-36. If you are reading along leave me a comment and I'll come visit your post or give me your thoughts in the comments. 





Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Mansfield Park: Read-Along: Week 1



This is our first discussion of MANSFIELD PARK. If you are participating head on over to Amber's blog SEASONS OF HUMILITY and check out her post. Here are my thoughts and observations and such on the first 12 chapters we have read.

Favorite Quotes:

"You are thinking of your sons-but do not you know that, of all things upon earth, that is the least likely to happen, brought up as they would be, always together like brothers and sisters? It is morally impossible. I never knew an instance of it." Oh Mrs. Norris...such a know-it-all and really knowing very little of others' feelings. 

" I will engage to get the child to Mansfield; you shall have no trouble about it. My own trouble, you know, I never regard. I will send Nanny to London on purpose, and she may have a bed at her cousin the saddler's, and the child be appointed to meet her there. They may easily get her from Portsmouth to town by the coach, under the care of any creditable person that may chance to be going." Yes, no trouble to anyone except Nanny, Nanny's cousin, and anyone else that will have to be responsible for Fanny except for the one person that never worries about her own troubles! Oh goodness this woman exasperates me!

"Her brother was not handsome: no, when they first saw him he was absolutely plain, black and plain; but still he was the gentleman, with a pleasing address. The second meeting proved him not so very plain: he was plain, to be sure, but then he had so much countenance, and his teeth were so good, and he was so well made, that one soon forgot he was plain; and after a third interview, after dining in company with him at the Parsonage, he was no longer allowed to be called so by anybody. He was, in fact, the most agreeable young man the sisters had ever known, and they were equally delighted with him." Apparently Mr. Crawford improves with visits which totally cracked me up!

"For what is to be done in the church? Men love to distinguish themselves, and in either of the other lines distinction may be gained, but not in the church. A clergyman is nothing." Oh Miss Crawford, tread lightly here! And Edmund better run from this girl!

"A clergyman hs nothing to do but be slovenly and selfish-read the newspaper, watch the weather, and quarrel with his wife. His curate does all the work, and the business of his own life is to dine."Goodness Miss Crawford has quite to lowly opinion of clergymen! Either she is ignorant about them or has run into some pretty poor ones!

SOME CHARACTER OBSERVATIONS:

Mrs. Norris obviously drives me nuts. She wants to orchestrate everyone's lives and be a busybody all with little effort put out on her part. But she'll take the credit for sure! ha!

Fanny just doesn't seem heroine type material to me. She seems sickly and frail and of course being a dependent on relations puts her pretty low in the family. She does have a bit of pluck when she defends Edmund's taking orders. She also seems to enjoy little pleasures and niceties that people(Especially Edmund) bestow on her. She understands her place and keeps it very well.

Edmund can be commended for taking notice of Fanny and becoming her hero in a sense. His care of her is admirable. I think he lacks some sense though in getting involved with Miss Crawford. And if he can't see where this is going then he's pretty slow! She has no desire to connect with a clergyman. I don't think he'll ever convince her and she will hopefully not convince him to give up his clergyman-ship.

Nobody else has really stood out in the story for me. I have read it before, but I can't remember what happens. I can't seem to keep the sisters straight. I think Mr. Crawford is a playboy as well as Edmund's older brother. Fanny's aunt that she is living with seems to just loll around with her stupid dog and expect Fanny to wait on her hand a foot. Ugh! So to wrap up, I'm not quite taken with MANSFIELD PARK and am hoping that it gets better as it moves along.

QUESTIONS FROM AMBER'S BLOG:

1. Would you consider the Bertram family taking in Fanny to be a kindness in the long run? If so, why? If not, could it have been a kindness if they approached things differently? Honestly they probably would have been better off supporting the family monetarily on a monthly basis or maybe some kind of allowance. But to take Fanny away from her family and bring her to a home without love and no station in life is kind of cruel. And if they insisted on taking Fanny then Fanny should have been brought up an equal to the other two daughters in the family. They could have shown her love and not treated her as a little above a servant.

2. If you were a governess teaching the Bertram children and Fanny, what lesson would you specifically choose for each of them (as kids or adults)? Feel free to have fun with this!I'd never had enough patience to be a governess! I'd have to get a job as a charwoman in the kitchen! ha! They all seem to need a lesson on caring for others and not themselves. They aren't even loyal to each other-one sister envying the other for her beau. 

3. Imagine you had joined the group on their visit to Sotherton. Which part of the tour would you most have enjoyed? Would we find you wandering the halls or meandering through the wilderness?Surprisingly I would rather tour the wilderness. I am not much for the outdoors, but I wouldn't have minded finding a bench under a tree in the shade in the middle of the wilderness and sat there by myself for hours...Fanny needs to start carrying around a book to read for those moments of being abandoned! ha!

There is this week's discussion and observations. If you have read MANSFIELD PARK feel free to jump in and leave your thoughts and opinions on the book. Come back next week when we discuss chapters 13-24! Looking forward to seeing what transpires next!





Monday, January 8, 2018

Spark by Holly Schindler


Image result for spark by holly schindler



This is Verona High's senior project nightmare! Quin's mom is the substitute drama teacher and she has assigned the play "Anything Goes" as the senior project. But this cast is full of misfits and those hiding from the limelight. Add to that a dying town, a magical theater and a story that is aching to be told and maybe, just maybe, Quin's mom and Quin can help bring a spark back to the old town square of Verona. 

I loved SPARK! I love old buildings that have personalities of their own, underdogs that save the day, and pasts colliding with the present. All of those elements make up the story in Spark and it was magical for me! The cast of characters was great! The Avery theater(because yes, this theater is a character unto itself!) brought life back to the town of Verona after it's spark seemed to go out. Quin and her connection to the past and her glimpses into the tragedy that caused the Avery to close. Quin's friends Cass, with her unsightly birthmark, and Dylan with his impossible stutter and even Quin's mom who was a part of the past, all were perfectly portrayed and endearing. I enjoyed every moment of the story and highly recommend it!




Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Kill Shot by Susan Sleeman


Olivia is a psychologist specializing in helping PTSD patients. When one of her patients is shot Olivia stumbles on the crime scene and is chased by the suspect. Rick is an FBI agent tasked with finding whoever killed Olivia's patient. Someone has stolen a highly dangerous weapon and is using it to kill Olivia's patients. Could she be the next target?

Neither Rick nor Olivia is interested in a relationship. Rick is suspicious of Olivia's involvement in the murders and Olivia has seen what a military background like Rick's can do to relationships. Despite their misgivings about each other their is an attraction that neither can deny. Can they both overcome their pre-conceived ideas about each other and be able to act on their attraction or once the killer is found they must go their separate ways?

This is the second book in the White Knights series. I absolutely loved it! The author has a way of drawing the reader in from the very beginning of the story. I didn't want to put the book down, especially when I got to the exciting conclusion around midnight! Kill Shot was well worth the loss of sleep! I love the White Knights team and their interaction with each other and with the people they help, and I look forward to the next book in the series.

Check out my review of the first book in the series:

Fatal Mistake


Monday, January 1, 2018

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen-READ ALONG


I love read-along's!!! And I love Jane Austen! So I am looking forward to this read-along! Here is the schedule and please go to Amber's blog SEASONS OF HUMILITY to check out her introduction post.

  • We'll read 12 chapters per week over 4 weeks (for a total of 48 chapters).
  • Discussions will take place here on Wednesdays (the 10th, 17th, 24th, and 31st).
  • You can start reading on the 3rd, or feel free to begin right away!
  • Use the hashtag #MansfieldReadAlong on Twitter to share in-the-moment thoughts and favorite quotes. 
Anyone can join along, so grab MANSFIELD PARK(it's free on Kindle) and give it a go! 


Saturday, December 30, 2017

Inspire, The Bible for Creative Journaling



Last year a friend gave me a gift card to our local Bible book store. I had been wanting a Bible to color in. Each year I read through the Bible and I try to read a different translation each year. This Bible is the New Living Translation. Which is a paraphrase of the Bible. I wouldn't recommend studying God's Word with this translation, but for daily reading it is perfect. I loved all of the opportunities to color a page that helped me reflect on what a passage was saying. I plan on keeping this by my chair so that I can pick it up and color more pages. There were many illustrations that I chose to color and then there were many that I skipped over so I think it will be fun to go back through this next year and color some that I missed.

For 2018 I have chosen to read The Daily Bible in the NIV translation. It is a devotional Bible and is in chronological order. I'm usually not a fan of the chronological order because I like to start in Genesis and read through to Revelation, but like I said, I like to choose a different translation or format each year. One of the women I go to Bible study with gave us these Bible's for Christmas last year, but I had already chosen the Inspire Bible to read so now I will read the Daily Bible.

How about you? Do you read the Bible daily? Do you read through cover to cover? Do you like different translations? Do you like to read a "real" Bible or do you go for the electronic Bible's? Any thoughts on paraphrases such as this one or ones like The Message? Have you ever thought about creative journaling?

This will be my last post for 2017. May God richly bless you all in 2018 and may you grow closer to Him. If you have never read through His Word then I would encourage you to give it a try. His Word never gets old!


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Top 10 Books of 2017

Usually I do a Top Whatever Year it is. But this year I haven't read much so I am going to stick with the Top 10 and call it good. I actually loved all of the books I read this year. Since I have cut way back on my reading I have found I am much more prone to read books that I will enjoy rather than reading those that I know are not going to be a favorite. I read 62 books, so once again failed to reach my Goodreads reading goal of 75 books. I'm hoping to add a few more books to this year's total, but as busy as we have been I don't know if I will.  So here it is, my Top 10 picks for 2017:

10.
I have actually enjoyed all of the books in the Chesapeake Valor series and read 2 in 2017. Love Dani Pettrey's books and am looking forward to reading more from her and more in this series!



9.
Such a good book! So many twists and turns! I loved it and can't wait for the next book in this series. Irene Hannon definitely knows how to keep a reader enthralled with the story.


8.


Karen Witemeyer writes such lovely historical romances and then she adds a bit of excitement/suspense that gets the heart going pitter pat! Love her books!


7.

I read a couple of books by Keli Gwyn this year. This one was my favorite. Keli has retired from writing this year. I have loved every one of her books!


6. 


I actually gorged on the whole series this year and loved all of them, but this was my favorite! Lynette Eason is another favorite that I will always snag her books when they become available. In fact the first one in her new series is on Netgalley and currently waiting for me on my Kindle! 


5. 


I can count on Susan Sleeman to keep me awake at night reading her books! They are wonderful suspense-filled reads!


4. 


This is a prequel novella in a new series by Julie Lessman and I loved it! The dialogue had me snort-laughing throughout and the kisses of course can curl your toes Julie Lessman style! 


3. 


This was a compilation from many different authors and followed the lives of 7 brothers. I loved all of the stories and the unique way each author portrayed their brother. I had my favorites, but I truly enjoyed each one.


2. 



There is something about Ginny Yttrup's writing that always manages to touch my heart. I absolutely LOVED Home because it did just that, touched my heart. 


1. 



Once again a Julie Lessman book has made my number one spot! I loved this Isle of Hope series, but especially this one. Julie Lessman knows how to write the perfect Prodigal story! I love how she shows that God continues to call us back to Him even when we think we are unlovable or unredeemable. She had me crying and laughing in this one!


So there you have them! Once again, I loved all of the books I read this year and still have a few more that I hope to squeeze in before the year ends, but these were the stand-outs. I hope that you too had a wonderful year of reading and that 2018 will bring you many more wondrous reads and favorite authors! 

As Tiny Tim says, "God Bless us, every one!"