Thursday, July 23, 2015

Persuasion by Jane Austen

I participated in a read along for Persuasion. This is the book that my copy of Persuasion is in. I have to admit it was a bit difficult reading in an anthology. All of Jane Austen's books are in this book. The text is single-spaced and tiny! My bi-focals had a hard time with this!

Amber at SEASONS OF HUMILITY hosted this read along for 3 weeks.
Monday thru Thursday we would read 2 chapters each day and then post a quote to ponder and then answer a question that Amber posed. On Fridays we would discuss THE PRAYERS OF JANE AUSTEN:

This is a collection of 3 prayers that are beautiful and reverent. Each week during the read along one of these books was given away. I won one!! Can't wait to get it. I love the pictures in it and like I said, the prayers are beautiful. Check out my review HERE.

One of my favorite things that we did during the read along was to have a watch along! I have to admit that my Twitter skills are pretty limited, but it was fun to watch the movie with a group of ladies and see all of the quotes flying and the observations that everyone had. We watched the 1995 version of Persuasion and I have to admit that I think we all liked it but thought it was a bit choppy. I'm currently watching my 1971 BBC version which is a much longer version and (dare I say) a bit boring.



Over the years I have read all of Jane Austen's books except for Lady Susan. I've always maintained that my favorite of all time is Pride and Prejudice. But I think that each Austen book has it's merits. I enjoyed being a part of the read-along because it helped to focus my attention on the story and analyze the behavior of the characters and also their feelings. I've always found Jane's wit and sarcasm to greatly amuse me and Persuasion supplied many moments of hilarity with the antics of Sir Walter. His self-centered behavior and observations of others' attire and looks totally had me rolling with laughter. Anne's sisters were too much to be tolerated! Mary with her imagined illnesses and Elizabeth with her over-inflated pride had me gritting my teeth and rolling my eyes on more than one occasion. Their treatment of Anne had me wanting to reach through the pages and give them a piece of my mind. I loved the Crofts and their delight in each other and in life. I loved reading how Anne's character developed through the story. How she went from a meek girl content to be in a corner to a more independent and self-assured woman. I'm glad she stopped being led around by others and listened to her heart once she saw that Wentworth still had feelings for her. Ahhhh, Wentworth! Can we say that that letter was AMAZING?! I think there was a contented sigh as we all watched the movie together and I know there was a sigh when I read it in the book. Jane definitely was an observer of human behavior which is seen in each of her stories. It is no wonder that her stories have lasted through the ages.

I hope we do another read along. Discussing books is one of my favorite things to do, especially if we are all reading the same thing at the same time.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Bishop by Steven James

So many things going on in this story! Basque has been released from prison and I'll just say, that conversion he supposedly had in prison? Yeah, not so much! Tessa's real dad is now wanting custody of her. WHAT?! And a new murder investigation for Patrick Bowers and the FBI along with several other agencies.

Here's where I'm going to start with the SPOILER ALERT!

For the most part I really liked this installment of the Patrick Bowers thrillers. But, there were several things that stood out to me as either annoying, or just not necessary.

So yeah, Basque is out of prison and shows up at Pat's friend Calvin's funeral. I'm thinking that that would be enough to arrest the dude again, but evidently there's no problem for that. He then drops out of sight for a while after Pat gives him a mild threat to back the bus up.

Tessa of course has been going behind Pat's back and e-mailing her real dad. And now Paul wants to meet secretly with her. Bells and whistles go off in my mind over that. But they meet and he gives her a lame story of why he has been holed up on a mountain in Wyoming for so long. Tessa then learns that he is trying to get custody of her and she bails on him. That's another thing, Tessa is almost 18 years old. Like in a few months she will be 18! Crazy to go through all of the expense of a custody battle for a few months time. But anyway, she wants Pat to fight him and keep custody of her. But yet he keeps showing up randomly. Makes a person wonder what the heck he is up to. Major spoiler here***I thought it was a major cop out on the authors part when he killed off Paul's character. Isn't that convenient? In my opinion there are still unanswered questions about this whole deal and I'm wondering if they will ever be answered or if he is just conveniently dead and now Tessa has a further excuse to be miserable and impossible. Frankly Tessa still annoys the heck out of me. She vacillates between being a 17 year old young woman to acting like a 12 year old pre-teen. Whiny and then aggressive to get her way. Smart as all get-out but no common sense. Independent, but then vulnerable. So kuddo's to the author for evoking such contrary feelings in the reader.

There is also Pat's relationships with Lien-hua and Cheyenne. Because of course Cheyenne shows up at the FBI place to attend lectures and get drawn into this case. Honestly I thought for a while that Cheyenne may be involved in the killings. Pat is in love with Lien-hua, but he is also attracted to Cheyenne and not above using her to dump Tessa on when he needs a babysitter. I'm not a fan of the love triangle in most books and this one just annoys me. I do however like some of the discussions that Cheyenne and Tessa have. I thought the author was going to cop out again by killing off Cheyenne in the end as well, but that would have been even more convenient so thankfully he didn't go there.

There seemed to be a lot of "teaching" or "telling" in this story. I got bogged down in the genetics and such of monkey's and the human condition etc. I'm sure they served a purpose, but the only purpose they served me was to bore me. I think the author used some $10 words when a $5 word would have been perfectly acceptable. Examples:

"Cheyenne shook her hand convivially." Seriously? Convivially? Why use that when the words agreeably or friendly would have been more understandable. I got the gist of what he meant, but just now looked it up to make sure that's what I was thinking.

"A stretch of elegiac silence filled the room." WHAT?! I looked it up and I still don't get what it means. Something to do with elegies, so maybe referring to the solemness of a funeral? I don't know, but why use that word?

And one final one: "Neither did I find any procedures that seemed overly invasive, cruel, or tendentious." Huh?

So usually if I run across words that are little used and I don't know the meaning of I stop and look them up. This time I just wrote them down and looked them up just now for this review. I'm all for broadening my vocabulary when it is appropriate, but when it seems like the author went to a dictionary or thesaurus to find a more snobby or random way of using a word it again just annoys.

The actual murders and bad guys that Patrick was hunting this time around had me on the edge of my seat and as always managed to keep me wondering who actually was orchestrating the whole mess. There are several twists and turns that keep the reader guessing throughout the story and once again we are left with some loose ends with Basque still out there. Can't wait to start The Queen!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

BabyLit Books by Jennifer Adams and art by Alison Oliver

I love the BabyLit books! They have taken classic books and created these cool board books for children. In Don Quixote the author uses pictures to illustrate Spanish words. So yes, a Spanish Language Primer for children. A fun way to introduce children to the classics and to another language.

The Secret Garden is a Flowers Primer. Each page of the board book introduces a different flower illustrated along with a quote which I'm assuming comes from The Secret Garden story.

Besides being a fun way to introduce children to the classics the board books are printed on, "either recycled, 100% post-consumer waste, FSC-certified papers or on paper produced from sustainable PEFC-certified forest/controlled wood source."(from back cover of the books.).

If you like the classics and you have a little one in your life then I definitely recommend this series for you.

**Thanks to the author for my copies of these books for review purposes, all opinions are my own.**

Saturday, July 11, 2015

For His Name's Sake by Debbie Viguie

Book 7 in the Psalm 23 Mysteries was so good! I think each book gets better as they go on. Geanie and Joseph are preparing for their wedding, lovingly called "The Royal Wedding" by those closest to them. Cindy is the Maid of Honor and Jeremiah is the Best Man. When the girls are almost run over Cindy chalks it up to a crazy driver, but when an explosion rocks the bridal shop it can't be denied that someone is targeting Geanie and trying to sabotage the wedding. Mark's only choice is to bring the whole wedding party to Joseph's house to try and contain any more acts of violence. As the wedding draws closer tensions run high as they each believe that the killer will make one last effort at his target.

While all of the wedding preparations are going on Mark is still trying to find out about his partners past. Running into dead ends has gotten him discouraged and he is just about to give up when several new clues turn up. Jeremiah knows that his past is catching up with him, but he is determined to get through this wedding. As much as he doesn't want to, Jeremiah knows he must leave in order to protect those he has come to care for. His growing affection for Cindy is bound to put her in harms way and Jeremiah is not willing to risk her life. Cindy definitely has feelings for Jeremiah but she is still denying them to herself and to her friends.She knows that Jeremiah has a secret about his past, she doesn't know if she wants to find out what that secret is though.

With bombs going off, trips to the hospital, intruders in the night and wedding preparations to be completed Cindy, Jeremiah, Mark and their friends are once more plunged into a mystery that places them all in deadly danger.

I cannot tell you how much I am enjoying this series! I love the suspense, I love the relationships and I love the characters! No, we still don't know all about Jeremiah's past at the end of this book, but we are one step closer. I have a love/hate relationship with the way two mysteries have remained unsolved since the beginning of the series. The first being the real identity of Mark's former partner and the second, who is Jeremiah and who is coming after him? I love it because it keeps a common thread and tension throughout the series, but I hate it because I desperately want to know! I have decided that each book in the series is going to be my monthly treat for myself. Each payday I will order the next book for my Kindle. There are some advantages and disadvantages to this process. The advantage is that I won't get burned out on them reading them one right after the other and I won't strain my pocketbook for the month. The disadvantage is that I gobble them up so quickly that I am desperate for the next book in the series immediately after I finish one! I highly recommend this series if you haven't read it. It looks like there are 11 in the series right now. I'm a series fan and I'll tell you, I have not been disappointed in one of these books!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe' by Alexander McCall Smith

Mma Romatswe has a premonition that the day is going to be a busy one for her. Her premonition becomes a reality when her first customers of the day show up. A woman with amnesia is in need of the agency to find out who she is. While Mma works out this problem Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni is having some problems of his own. The garage has not been very busy lately and Mr. J.L.B. is faced with having to let one of his apprentices go. In the meantime Grace Makutsi is preparing to open up her own cafe. Mma Makutsi wants to do it all on her own so refuses any help from her husband, or Mma Romatswe, after all, she has a 97% passing rate from the Botswana Secretarial College she can run a simple cafe.

I love this series! Mma Romatswe is so practical and never seems to get ruffled. Along with her "traditional size" she has a very generous heart. Mma Romatswe hates to tell lies, but has no problems stretching the truth just a bit to serve her purpose of finding out information. Whether playing peace-maker between Mma Makutsi and Charlie, or puzzling out people's motives and behaviors, or having a slice of cake with Mma Potakwane, Precious Romatswe does it all with grace and humor and patience. If you've never read The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series I guarantee you will find a delightful gem.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


We are on Day 3 of our discussion of Persuasion & Prayers Read-Along. There's still time to catch up and join us in the conversations going on! There's also a giveaway each week of the read-along so come participate!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

William Shakespeare's The Clone Army Attacketh by Ian Doescher

I have to admit, I am rather ignorant when it comes to Shakespeare's writings. I have read a few plays, seen a few movies, studied a bit in college, but ask me what voice his plays are written in, or what iambic pentameter is or how many lines a soliloquy has and I couldn't even begin to tell you. On the other hand, ask me about any of the Star Wars movies and I can probably get by a bit better in a Q and A setting. All of that to say, I have no idea why this series by Ian Doescher cracks me up, but they do! Besides being hysterical(seriously, how can you not laugh at stuffy old C3PO talking like one of William Shakespeare's characters?),  it is extremely fun to find all of the hidden gems that the author sneaks into the writing. At the end of The Clone Army Attacketh Ian Doescher explains some of the writing style he used. As I was reading that I was still confused, but I still enjoyed the book. In fact, I enjoyed it very much. It made me laugh, and when I found a word or phrase that I recognized from someplace else it was like finding a hidden item in one of those pictures with tons of objects to sift through, kind of like an "ah ha!" moment. The tale stays true to the movie script just like the rest of the books in the series, but with a bit of a twist now and then. I enjoyed this installment very much and am looking forward to the next book in the saga! If you have read any of these books let me know what you think of them and let me know what hidden references you found in this tale.

Check out my reviews of the other books in this series:

William Shakespeare's Star Wars
William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back
William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return
William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace

**Thanks to Quirkbooks for my copy for review, all opinions are my own**