Showing posts with label books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts

Friday, February 19, 2016

Reading, writing, and Downton... the things in my life

Hello lovely readers,

I hope you are all (who ever you are) are having a good week and are excited for the up coming weekend... I am, my mom is town and we are going to be enjoying some pampering, also doing a little bit of shopping and just enjoying some mom and daughter time. But before the weekend begins I just wanted to give you all a quick update on my life...
 I tried reading Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier as it was recommend to me by my friend and while I was intrigued by the story I didn't get past 100 pages. One night I was reading in bed and the book Me Before You was sitting on my book shelf and I kept thinking I want to read that instead. So I began reading it. I will also admit while I have wanted to read this book for a while and when I saw the ad for the upcoming movie I was more intrigued... plus I love Sam Claffin (aka Finnick).
Re-watching trailer I think I am going to need tissues... Yep I am a sap. 

I think I am two or three plot points away from being done, which feels very weird and cool all at the same time. Currently I am trying to type up every thing I have written out in order to get my mind settled on how I want to finish the story. I have it outlined and I know how I want to end in my head putting words on paper feels hard. But as I have been reminded I have to keep pushing myself.
{The Future was Theirs}
I have been thinking more and more about preparing for my second draft and sharing my work. I know this goes against some advice but I am thinking of sharing the story through a blog format. I am not so concerned about being published or the money, and to me that sounds like a headache. For me it is more important to share my story with my friends and family and anyone else who reads this blog. But I am still thinking through this process.
For now I just have to finish the first draft.

Thinking about
Even though I am working on the first draft of my story my brain can't help but wander to my next story.  
A couple of months ago I thought of a story line where a modern day girl finds a journal from the past only to find out that it is hers. Then a few weeks later I quickly jotted down this scene...
He was perched on the bench ready to jump into action, clasping the edge of the seat to make sure he didn't fall off. He eagerly awaited her to arrive on the incoming train.
Later I saw a man sitting on the T wearing a tweed jacket and sweater vest and the name Crispin came to me and wrote this out...
Crispin was wearing his best forest green collar button up with it nearly matching green tie, wool sweater vest with a red and gold diamond pattern, and his tweed jacket that had patches on the elbow. He loved that jacket, it had been his fathers and still smelled of his father's pipe tobacco. Crispin thought if gave him a scholarly look, and when her wore it he stood a bit taller. He been in the library shuffling through papers looking for some some notes on the archaeology diggings in Pakistan. His uncle had referred to it the other day and Crispin was certain his uncle had misquoted the author, however scholarly his uncle pretended to be he was always misquoting someone. Crispin had made it a game to look up the quotes to discreetly and politely correct him. He was shuffling through some papers when he caught out of the corner of his eye a movement in the garden. No one besides the gardener went out there after Aunt Edith passed away and even out of the corner of his eye he recognized this was not Marion, the crotchety old gardener, who was only kept on in respect of Aunt Edith. This movement was a woman who clearly did not want to be noticed. Crispin slammed the files shut and marched to the garden, he wasn't sure if was more curious by the woman's movement in the garden or angry someone would intrude on them. There had been tales of ghostly figures on the property and youngsters had mad it their mission to hunt these out and these escapades had happened more since Aunt Edith's death but never in the day time. Crispin was happy to finally be able to have his say in the matter once he captured the intruder.
{This is not how I pictured Crispin but I like the suit}
Not sure what is going to happen with this but I feel all these plots are intertwined.

I am greatly enjoying watching the last season of Downton Abbey and I am interested in seeing how it will all end. During the first season of Downton I didn't care for Edith at all but over time she has grown on me, she sometimes whines too much, I feel she is becoming more empowered. Now if only Mary could stop picking on her I would be happy. In this season I am feeling more sorry for Thomas or Mr. Barrows but I think if he had just been nicer earlier on more people would be rooting for him, but I do want him to be successful at the end of the series.

I do want Mary to be happy but I honestly don't understand why they made Henry a race car driver of course this was going to be a hang up for Mary after Matthew's death. I am actually surprised how long she has pursued him because of it... but I guess sometimes love is a risk. I think Branson was very wise (as he has always been) in the last episode.

Also I have been binge re-watching Hart of Dixie, which I enjoyed the second time as much as I enjoyed the first time and knowing what was going I enjoyed watching the character development more. I will say right now I wish Lavon and AnnaBeth had ended up together as I thought they were perfect together. 
{AnnaBeth and Lavon}
 Plus she was good friend to both Lemon and Zoe even though they hated each other. Plus her fashion (minus some green eye shadow) was better than Lemon's... I know this shouldn't be the reason why she should be with Lavon but its true.
{One of my favorite outfits}
Overall I am happy with the ending of the show.

Video contains some spoilers up to season 3

 Looking forward to
In March I will be going to visit my sister and family to celebrate my little ginger man's 1st birthday. I cannot believe he will be a year old. 
{Him and I over Christmas}
That is all for now hope you guys have a good weekend. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Book Blurb... A Desperate Fortune

Hello lovely readers,

Over the summer I got addicted to Susanna Kearsley's writing in reading The Winter Sea (for more about this book: click here). One thing I really like about Kearsley's writing is that it is dual plotlines between past and present stories and it does a good job of showing that history has a way of impacting us today. In The Winter Sea I got swept up into both stories of the past, Sophia, and the present, Carrie McClelland. In the present Carrie is trying to write her next novel about the James Stewart trying to regain his throne (this is not a part of history I knew much about). She quickly realizes while she is trying to write fiction her story is a lot more real than she could have imagine. I got swept away in the way one story bled into the other and I was intrigued by the love story of both Carrie and Sophia as they discover secrets, mystery and adventure. I thought it was so well written that I detoured from my "26 Book Challenge" I was doing in 2015 to read more of Kearsley's books. I will say as much as I liked The Rose Garden (book blurb) and The Firebird  I was not swept up in them as much, so I was a hesitant to read the novel A Desperate Fortune.  I'm happy to say I was not disappointed. 

The present story is about Sara, who has a slight form of Asperger and gives her the skill of cracking codes as a hobby. Her cousin who works for a publisher has an author who wants a decipher a code in a journal from 1732. Sarah, currently out of work, goes to France where the journal is to spend a couple of months deciphering and transcribing the diary. While working on her transcription she meets an array of characters from Claudine, who privately owns the diary and Denise, Claudine's housekeeper and Luc, Denise's ex-husband. Sarah is immediately attracted to Luc but knows she is not good at relationships and decides to keep her distance but this does not stop Luc from pursuing her. Sara must learn who she can trust and who she can't.

In the past Mary Dunbas must learn the same lesson of trust while she seeks out a new life and adventure. Mary has been raised by her aunt and uncle as her mother passed away and her father and brothers have followed King James (or known James Frances Edward, Prince of Wales(link)) to Rome. Mary barely remembers her family but one day her brother returns from Rome and wants to take her into his home and family. She thinks she has found a family once again, only to realize her brother wants to use her as a pawn in a scheme. She is being used to protect a man's identity in Paris and soon learns things are not what they appear. People are full of secrets and the one man she swore to hate, might be the only person she can depend on.

From the back of the book... As Mary's gripping tale is revealed, Sara must let go of everything she thought she knew--about herself, about loyalty, and especially about love. These two women, divided by centuries, are both on a quest to discover the limits of trust and the boundlessness of fate. 

Overall: I really enjoyed this book and found it in line with The Winter Sea, that I fell in love with over the summer. I found both stories captivating and I wanted to just read the end to see how it all worked out. And while I think The Winter Sea could be read without reading the other books in Kearsley's collection I don't think A Desperate Fortune could be read separately because it doesn't go into a lot of the history of the Jacobite uprising that I think is important to know. However, if you are wanting or willing to get lost in books that deal in intrigue, love, adventure, mystery and history I highly recommend these books. So good for some winter reading.

P.S- I have taken my "All about the Books" page as it looks like it was having some technical issues that I want to resolve before I put it back up.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A Mostly Picture Update

Hello Lovely Readers,

I hope this New Years is finding you well... I know its only been six days but if you are like me you are still writing 2015 and then doing your best to make the 5 look like a 6. A few of my last post have been about movies, books, and favorite Christmas songs so I thought it was time for a little update on my life. 

I know Christmas is behind us but I am still replaying the moments I had with my family...

 A morning selfie of my nephew and I (he loves me even if it doesn't look like he does in this picture)
... he is showing signs of having red hair so I call him "little ginger man"
This is us at the park... notice the short sleeves, yeah Christmas in Houston is hot and humid
Playing with my niece and nephew... they invented the game "Squish Attack Aunt Blaire"
Helping my "little ginger man" open his first Christmas gift from me... Yep its a book
Books was unintentionally my theme for gifts

So even though the weather did not feel like Christmas with the family and the kids it was very Christmas-y

Speaking of books...
I am currently re-reading Mansfield Park and it quickly topping my list of favorite Jane Austen novels. Emma and Sense and Sensibility are at the top of my list but this one is joining the ranks. It is not the typical Austen novel because Fanny Price is not like her other heroines who speak their minds or stand up for themselves... no Fanny spends most of the time sitting around and thinking about the people around her, she is also often ignored by her family, and she seems okay with this because she doesn't want attention. The very first time I read this I couldn't finish it because she was so quiet and so mousy that I couldn't stand Fanny Price... now with age I have begun to love her.
Great article "In Defense of Fanny Price" {link}
If you are looking for a modern update of Mansfield Park I recommend the YouTube Series "From Mansfield with Love" (link to channel)

Here is a short trailer:
It is told as a video letter from Franks (Fanny) Price to her brother who is in the navy (or something like that) and she is recording her life for him. Thus far I have enjoyed these YouTube series updates on classic literature... so good job media specialist on keeping us in love with classic stories.

With my progress in NaNoWriMo (I got to 35,000 words) I was able to finish the first part of my story and made a good start on part 2... so I am eagerly making progress on it. After November, I didn't get much writing done, and while I was away for Christmas I didn't get any writing done (I did do some minimal editing on the plane rides). That's okay, as my friend reminds me I am doing this for myself... and while I would one day love to be published I am not on any deadline. Though I do have the goal of finishing the rough draft this story and get to the editing process. Though sometimes after writing a scene I think "Oh this would be much better someplace else" so my outline has gotten a bit of editing to it... and I think I might have to go back and re-write some scenes. Oh well... I love this process and enjoying the moments.

 I don't have a lot of prime time shows I am watching right now. But New Year's weekend was a good TV/ Movie weekend for me.
My friend and I went to go see Star Wars ep. 7 on New Year's day and then I watched the Sherlock "The Abominable Bride" episode. I don't want to give away any spoilers on either one of these things but I thought both were great... obviously for different reasons.
Also this weekend was special as it was the premier of Downton Abbey season 6.
Uh once again I don't want to give out any spoilers but the scenes between Mr. Carson. Mrs. Hughes, and Mrs. Patmore were my favorite. 
{Scenes from ep.1}
 Also over Christmas the show When Calls the Heart, also released their special episode. 
When Calls the Heart, is probably one of my guilty pleasures but I don't care it is a cheesy Hallmark Channel on the frontier period drama.
Needless to say my fangirl heart was very happy over New Years.

Usually I end these updates with a YouTube video I have recently discovered... and I don't want to break with tradition.
Song: "Hello" by Adele (cover)
Clips: Gilmore Girls- Rory and Jess

I think this song is actually quite fitting for their relationship and as the cover is sung by man, I think it tells the story from Jess's perspective.
I am eagerly awaiting for the release of the Netflix reunion episodes that last time I checked were to begin being filmed this year. YEAH!

Hope you have a good day.

Monday, January 4, 2016

I won't say resolutions but goals

Hello Lovely Readers,

It is the new year and I am sure like a lot of you, you are thinking about what you want to accomplish in this year. I don't think I really like the term resolution but I do have some goals I want to work on this year.

1) I want to be better in my quiet time... the last couple of months I have felt a little flat and I think one reason for this is that I have not stayed consistent in my Bible reading and prayer time. When I do pray and when I read the Bible it hasn't really sunk in and it hasn't made an impact on my life. I know I have a habit of looking to people, and silly things like TV shows and novels to fill me and give me comfort. I know things will always let me down.

My Bible reading has been scattered at best...and the last time I really felt connected I followed a scheduled that I made out for myself but inspired by friend. Lately I have been thinking about how faithful God is and His promises. So with the help of my topical index in the back of my Bible I am looking up passages... I have done this in the past with looking up passages that mention "Hope" (link) and it really helped me feel unstuck and encouraged my faith. I highly recommend if you are feeling stuck to think of a word (example: hope, faith, guidance, prayer or refuge) and to study passages on that subject.

Blog post... Hope is an Act of Waiting
2) Praying for others... Over the last couple of months I have also noticed when I sit down and pray I get so focused on my own problems I forget about others so I need to pray for others more. In that I need to get bold and ask "how can I pray for you?" I am an introvert so it is easier for me to hide behind this blog than actually talking to people and a couple of days ago I posted on Facebook asking people for prayer request but I need to actually talk to people and check in on them. However, if you are reading this blog and we don't see each other that often feel free to Facebook message me, text me or email me with a prayer request (Contact me)

As I was writing this I got distracted by Facebook (a common occurrence) but I saw my friend post this and I thought it followed what my last two goals have been...
3) Read and share more... In 2015 I did a reading challenge of trying to read 26 books (link) in the year (I think I ended up reading 30 or so books), at first I really like it as it helped me get out of my "post graduate brain slump" but over time I found I was "controlled" by the challenge and for a bit I resented it. I am not doing a challenge this year but I do want to read just as much and I want to share about them as well. While I usually write a "book blurb" post about different books I did not have a central area for sharing books I have read... well inspired by a conversation with my sister I decided to make a list of books I have liked over the years and I hope to add to this list. Click on my "All about books" to read more (link). I will keep posting my book blurbs but for books I highly recommend I will post them on this list... hope this helps you all find a good story. I also recommend the blog "Modern Mrs. Darcy" she has made her life about reading and writing about books and she post e-reader discounts (link to her Facebook page).
Modern Mrs. Darcy on Facebook
4) I want to finish the rough draft of my current work in progress "Quiet Hope" and get to the editing process of it. In that process I want to share more of my story with you all... sharing parts of my story (even if in rough draft) with you all has always kept me inspired to keep writing. I will try to get some post up soon.... hope you enjoy.

Have a good 2016!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A long book blurb... part 2

Hello Lovely Readers,

I know I don't usually post two days in a row but I want to finish up the details of my "26 book challenge" before 2016 (tomorrow). In my previous post I wrote about books I highly enjoyed and books I pulled at my heart strings... but there are other books I read and I wanted to let you know about them.

For the love of history...

I love history so much that not only did I get my bachelor's degree but also got my master's in history, though I will admit sometimes I have a hard time reading historical books because they are rather dry and so I usually turn to historical fiction. If historical fiction is good the author will make you feel as if the past is a live for you. In my previous post I shared a lot of historical fictions I loved reading this year but I am also pleased to announce I found some nonfiction I enjoyed.

1. A Season of Splendor: The Court of Mrs. Astor by Greg King- I picked this book up a couple of years ago when I visited Newport, RI and was swept away in the Gilded Age and I wanted to read anything about that era. A Season of Splendor is a wide view of the time period focusing on different prominent families, their wealth, their culture including balls, clothing and mansions and what brought about the end of the era. I underlined and tabbed many of the pages in order to go back and use as a reference in future writing projects.

2.  Testament of Youth by Vera Brittian- is the memoir of Vera Brittian who left her studies at Oxford in 1915 to enlist as a nurse in WWI. She served in London, in Malta and on the Western Front and sadly by the end of the war she had almost everyone she loved. I will admit the writing is a bit dry as I think she is trying to sound like an educated woman and to be taken seriously and not to be seen as a frivolous emotional author. I recommend this book with the companion read Chronicle of Youth which is selected pieces of her diary (selected by editor) she kept during the war... I think these two together give a better insight into her life, her experiences, her emotions and the impact World War I had on people. However, if you cannot get around to reading both books I recommend the movie Testament of Youth as I think it blends together both these works.

3. Mary Queen Scots by Anotonia Fraser - I will admit that I got intrigued to read this book because I enjoyed the historical fiction version portrayed on the CW and I honestly wanted to know how much was fact and how much was fictionalized. This book also has a special spot in my heart as I bought it in Paris at the Shakespeare and Company. Though it is thick do not let it intimate you as Fraser is a great writer and tells the history in a capturing way... I found myself tearing through it. 

Books I am glad I crossed off my literary list...

1. Charlotte's Web by E.B White- Though I love reading now I did not read much as a child and sometimes I feel I missed out on childhood classics one being Charlotte's Web. 

2. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury-Is not in my typical genre of reading but I really enjoyed it and made me think about the future and the progress of society. 

General reccomendations...

1. The Chance by Karen Kingsbury- Looking for something light, maybe a beach read or a vacation read... this is a good book. It centers around Ellie and Nolan who years ago buried letters to each other (telling the other one how they felt). Now eleven years later (2013) they are to meet up and dig up the buried letters and read them. In those eleven years their lives have changed differently. Ellie no longer has the faith she once had and lives as a single mom in California and trying to make ends meet. Nolan is an NBA star but has had his own personal tragedies that has only fueled his faith and his athletic drive. Can they go back to the days of their innocent childhood and rekindle their feeling they had for each other as teenagers? Can they forgive past hurts and pains? 

2. The Storied Life of A.J Frikry by Gabrielle Zevin- This was a simple book and reminded me of a good update of Silas Marner by George Elliot. A.J Frikry lives a quiet life owning a bookstore until he meets a publishing book seller and has his treasured possession stolen. Both these actions leave him to create a new life for himself and open his heart to a girl left in his book store. I did not like reading Silas Marner in high school but I enjoyed this update. 

3.The Blue Castle by L.M Montgomery- looking for a little bit of lighthearted frivolousness, look to The Blue Castle, Valancy Stirling as always lived at the service and mockery of her relatives and yet she yearns for a place all her own. When she finally thinks that her life is going to end she decides to live the life she always wants speaking her mind and pursuing love. I think Valancy is a great character for giving courage of those wanting to seek out a place to belong.

To see other books I read for this challenge click on this "26 book challenge" page (link)

I have already seen some book challenges on Pinterest for 2016 (link) and while I liked this challenge as it kept me motivated to read post grad-school, I won't be doing another challenge. I have lots of books I want to read or re-read on my list and I think I will be making my way through those. Though through some encouragement of my sister, I will try to be better in 2016 and in the future of having a page of books I like. I currently have "Books to get Lost In" (link) but it is not very up to date and I want to share more books I have read. I will working on compiling a list of books I love and recommend for you all... will keep you updated when that is officially published. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

For the love of reading... A long book blurb

Hello Lovely Readers,

I am back in Boston. I have been away seeing part of my family in Houston where it was hot, humid, and felt more like September than Christmas, but being with my niece and nephews, and my family was more important than the weather and that made it feel like Christmas.
The kiddos and I with their books
From the pic above, you can see that I spread my love of reading to another generation... I sure hope they never tire of me giving books. I gave books to a few people this Christmas some of them were books I had read in my 26 book challenge (link) that I really liked and thought other people would like and now that I have finished the challenge (link) I wanted to go through the books I read, focusing on the books I really enjoyed, pulled on my heart strings, or other various thoughts

Some books I really enjoyed..
1. First Impressions by Charlie Lovett- it is an intriguing literary mystery to keep you guessing who actually wrote Pride and Prejudice. I picked up this book because I love Jane Austen and looking for good fan-fiction about the author or her works. I also liked reading a book written by a guy that actually felt to be written by a woman. I don't usually read books written by men, I don't know why, but I am not usually drawn into male author's works... so I was pleased by this book.

2. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson- was a historical fiction novel with a sort of time traveling novel that made you think... "What if you could live life over and over again, till you got it right?" Ursula Todd keeps being able to live her life over and over to fix the mistakes she has made till she gets it right, but what will she do with that power? I will admit it took me a bit to get into it because the first couple chapters were a bit repetitive but over all the story was interesting and I loved the concept of the story.

3. Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller- I can't really even put into words my love for this book. Just read it!

4. The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley- This book was given to me by a friend and I have already passed it along to others. It also introduced me to the plot twisting, historical and modern day writings of Susanna Kearsley and I cheated a few times on this challenge to read more of her books. Half of the book is set in present day where author Carrie Maclelland is searching for the inspiration for her newest novel, the other half is set in 1708 and the story of a Jacobite uprising. I love reading multi-generational stories and I loved both the present and past story lines weave together and both kept me wanting to see what happens next.

5. The Lake House by Kate Morton.- This is another multi generational novel, told from many different perspectives and shows how a secret from the past can still impact our present. Kate Morton is one of my favorite authors and one reason is that she blends the past and present together wonderfully. I feel as I have just written about this book I don't want to be too repetitive... so go read my post "Book blurb...The Lake House" ( link).

For more info on this books go to my "26 Book Challenge" (link)

Books that pulled at my heart strings...

1. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah- I am not a huge WWII fan when choosing historical fiction, once again don't know why. So I think it is interesting that the two books that pulled at my heart strings the most are set in WWII. This book is set in German occupied France during the war and is about two sisters who must chose different paths in trying to protect their homes and lives around them. The eldest, Vivanne, tries to keep her head down and just tries to survive and to keep her family farm going. The younger one, Isabelle, joins the French Resistance and helps pilots who have crashed sneak into Spain. Though they chose different paths they both make ripples in the war effort.

2. The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult- is yet another multi-generational story and weaves together Nazis Germany and the concentration camps with a small town in New England. I found this story very powerful and had to take deep breaths after reading some parts because of the descriptions of how the Nazis treated the Jews was very powerful and I couldn't push it aside and think "well that is all in the past" as I know it happened and it was horrific. In present day, Sage who is part Jewish, has hidden away from the world after a horrible accident that killed her mom and she is left with many scars. Her life is changed when a new acquaintance, Josef, confesses that he is a former Nazis officer. This story nicely weaves Sage, her grandmother's story, and Josef's story together.

3. Light between Oceans by M.L. Stedman- is about Tom Sherbourne, who returns to his home, Australia, after fighting in the trenches on the Western Front (WWI) and takes a job as light house keeper on a island. He likes the solitude of it all until he meets Isabel who is young, bold and beautiful. They go through many heartaches with a few miscarriages and stillborn deaths (this is the part that made me cry) and they kind of believe life is hopeless until there is a boat crash on the island and baby girl is left helpless on the shore. Though they live a happy life together when they return to the main land they see their choices have made impacts on other people's lives and now they must decide what to do. I held my breath for many moments in this novel.

These three I would recommend but would suggest keeping a pack of tissues with you when you read. 

To see other books I read for challenge click this link

Monday, December 21, 2015

Book Blurb... The Lake House

Hello lovely readers,

I know it has been awhile since I posted about the "26 book challenge" I have been going through this year...the last book on my list was to read "A Book set Somewhere you've Always Wanted to Visit" at first I thought this book would be about Africa or India or someplace exotic. I decided then after read the The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley and watching Poldark over the summer, both set in Cornwall I began to fall the idea of wanting to go to Cornwall, England. And while I have been to London and Bath. I still really, really want to go to the English country side.
In Kensington Park
Thankfully I found the book that satisfies my love of the English country side and yet makes my desire to visit to grow even so more so.  That book is The Lake House by Kate Morton.
Meeting Kate Morton
In May (with some of my birthday money) I pre-ordered the book and anxiously awaited the book to come in the mail and it was worth the wait. I have loved Kate Morton's writing for years, she has a brilliant way of tying the past and present together to figure out a mysterious secret, and while she lives in Australia she writes mostly about England. Half the book takes place in 1930s and in 2003 to solve the case of a baby boy who has disappeared into thin air...

Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure…
One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined.

Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as an author. Theo’s case has never been solved, though Alice still harbors a suspicion as to the culprit. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old estate—now crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone...yet more present than ever. 

The story was gripping and I loved the different perspectives between Sadie, Alice and Eleanor Edevanes (Alice's mother) keep the story going and trying to figure out what happened to Theo. Not only did it touch on the 1930s, it also went into 1910s and World War I, which is my favorite era. So not only is this book set in a place I want to visit it is also is set in a era I would love to visit (if I could).

As part of the story is set in the 1930s I loved imagining the character Eleanor in great gown (left). And Kate Morton wrote great passages of details about London in the past that I underlined or tabbed so I can refer back them. For example, "London had a distinctive smell, the unpleasant mingled of manure with exhaust fumes, of old and new, and she was glad when she turned into Hyde Park and caught the scent of roses." And one quote that caught me was, "Eleanor, wondered sometimes whether hope, that awesome, awful habit, ever died; better still, whether it could be killed. Things would be so much easier if it could, if it were simple as flicking a switch. But, alas, it seemed hope's glimmer always hovered in the distance, no matter how long one journeyed towards it without it."    

I loved this book and highly recommend it if you like to mysterious secret historical novel. I also recommend if you like the English country side.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Book Blurb... Love Does

Hello Lovely Readers,

Have you ever read a book that you loved so much and halfway through you knew you wanted to give it to everyone you know (yeah Christmas coming up) but yet when you sit down to describe it you can't put it into words?

Yeah that is how I feel about Bob Goff's Love Does.  My friend recommended it to me in the Spring (I believe) and told me how much she loved it and underlined a lot of passages in it... I quickly ordered it on Amazon and awaited for its arrival. It came and I added it to my stack of "to be read books." It is not that I didn't want to read it, it is just I had other books I wanted to read as well and so it kind of got buried.If you have been following my blog or my life you know I have gone through a stage of feeling stuck and kind of wondering what God's purpose for my life is. I told myself I couldn't keep reading novels and escaping realities, so pulled out Love Does. I will admit I wasn't really reading my Bible (as much as I know I should it wasn't appealing to me)* so I started reading this book in my quiet time.

Bob Goff has lead what I would say a pretty amazing full of adventure life. He is the founder of Restoration International, a non-profit injustices committed against children in Uganda and India. He calls himself a part time lawyer and he is also an Honorary Consul for the Republic of Uganda to the United States. I am not listing his credentials because they are impressive (even though they are) it helps put his story into focus.

The book is full of stories from his college days, to stories about his kids, and all the in between.  Many times his story state "we jumped on a plane to (insert foreign county)" as if it was a spare moment decision. Sometimes it is hard to believe all the adventures one person can take but that was kind of the point of the book...

One reviewer wrote-
'Every once in a while someone like Bob Goff shows up to remind us that some things matter a lot more than others.  Love Does has a kind of 'north star' effect that will push you to refocus your life and energy on what is most significant. It doesn't just invite you to respond with your God-given potential, it invites you to become a part of what God can do beyond your potential.' (Amazon)

The Love, Goff's book is about is the Love of Jesus and how it doesn't just ask us to sit by and let moments pass. "Love Does" allows us to jump into having adventurous, whimsy, engaging, and honest relationship with God. There were so many stories in the book but they all started off with saying "yes" to life. I don't want that to sound too "new age-y" because it wasn't like that at all. It was just saying "yes" to Jesus and God even without knowing all the details but just embracing what God wants you to do in life. Overall: I found the book really motivating and after I finished it I prayed and thanked God for people like Bob Goff who dedicate their lives to following Him. It made me think "Does my life reflect following Jesus?"
I feel like I haven't done justice to this amazing book... basically if you are walking through a store and see this book, buy it, read it and pass it on to others.

*- Since starting and finishing this book I have gone to reading the Bible, read the book of Esther,which is another good book to read if you don't know what the purpose of your life to be.

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Quick Little Update

Hello lovely readers,

Since it has been a while since I have updated this I thought I would give a fun update on my life...


The biggest news is my life is that my mom and step-dad have moved up to Burlington, VT!
My step-dad has a new job up in Burlington which is awesome because we haven't been physically close to each other in ten years. I don't know if I expressed this but over the summer I was feeling a major amount of homesickness and a major urge to be close to my family (even thought they are spread out)... I even thought about moving away from Boston that I love to be close to them. While, that may happen one day I am so happy for now I can stay up here. 
Any way the weekend was lots of fun... We went to Stowe, VT which is a picturesque New England town and we experienced the first snow of the season, and yes at this point it was exciting. 
Snow up in the mountains over Smuggles Notch Junction

A very picturesque church
Trying to get a picture with the church sadly the power lines got in too
Event though seeing Burlington and Stowe was fun, I liked seeing my parents and it is nice to know they are so close. 

I feel I have not read much lately... I have been using my usual reading time (my commute to work) to get some writing done. It has been beneficial to my writing life but not to my reading. However I have finished my 25th book in my reading challenge... A book about "A lion, witch or Wardrobe" 
I don't usually read "magic realism" novels... so I thought if I am going to read a novel about witches, Halloween season would be a good time. Besides I found a book about the Edwardian/WWI time period so I felt it would fit nicely into my repertoire. For more about the book, click here.
 I was reading the book Fever Tree about a girl who goes to South Africa in 1890, for the requirement a book about a place you have always wanted to go. However, I found parts of the book too sexual and I thought it best to move on. 
I am on the waiting list at the BPL for the book Circling the Sun about Kenya in the 1930s. I have wanted to go to Africa (well South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, and maybe Morocco) but I understand they are unstable and I cannot afford to pay for that yet. So I am reading about it. 
While I am waiting for this book... I just picked up Chronicle of Youth at the library and can already tell I want to buy a copy as there are so many passages I want to underline. 
Over the winter I read Vera Brittan's Testament of Youth, her autobiography of her time in WWI. And while the book was great for facts and  some thoughts it is not very feeling. I think she was trying to sound like a scholar and not like an emotional woman. So reading her diary will be an interesting view of her life.

My work in progress cover

As I said above I have been getting a lot of writing in, but I am gearing up for National Novel Writing Month... where you try to write 50,000 words in a month. This is my first time that I am not in school since I first learned of this. I am going to bend a rule that I want to continue working on my current story. I really feel my story is coming into focus and shape so I want to continue writing it. I have read some blog post about this and it seems really intense... so I don't know if I will actually be able to write 50,000 words but as this my first time trying I am going to do the best I can but won't beat myself up if I don't get there. 
Getting my November calendar ready

Before I went up to visit my parents I went through a major binge watch of Glee. When the show was on I watched the first season, half of the second season, and then just watched episodes occasionally of the 3rd and 4th season but nothing really of the 5th season (minus The Quarterback episode) and none of the 6th season. But YouTube clearly tracking my interest (cheesy musical numbers) kept suggesting videos... finally I got hooked and decided to go through the show on Netflix. 
Song: "Don't Go Breaking my Heart" 
 Okay I will admit that sometimes the performances are a little cheesy and maybe a little over the top (I noticed this more in the 4th season) but hey who doesn't want to go to school where you get to perform a music video walking down the hall...
Song: "Wanna be Starting Something"
And not only did they cover classic songs they had a few original songs 
 Song: "Loser like me" 

Yes there were moments of annoyance where I couldn't stand Rachel and her need to popular, and there were moments when I thought "come on let them be happy," and thought "this is so not logical" but over all I liked it. They fought, they sometimes had pointless breakups, but they still came together as a team to support each other, and they embraced their differences.
 The only thing that made me truly upset is they way they acted like everyone in high school was having sex and if a character didn't have sex it was a fault of theirs. 
And even though I knew it was going to happen I did cry during The Quarterback episode, where they deal with the death of Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith) because it wasn't just them writing off a character he actually died and as a cast they had to deal with that pain. 
 Recently I started re-watching Gilmore Girls. Yes I am excited for the revamp of it on Netflix (whenever that happens) but lately I have been feeling like life is not going the way I want and I have been trying to decide what to do with my life. And whenever get in this mood Gilmore Girls always cheers me up. Because this is just great life advice:
Right now the only show I am watching in real time is Reign. 
(Historical Spoiler):
Sadly, they have already announced that Francis is going to die this season, though I don' t know what episode. I mean I know in history Francis died a year after becoming King, but last season took place almost entirely in the winter, and they have changed so many historical things why do they have to stick with this. Also (Season 2 Spoiler) last season Mary and Francis spent so much time apart that now they are together and happy it hurts to know soon they will be forever apart. 
Other Things in My Life
 I have been actively volunteering with Horizons for Homeless Children. It is probably my saving grace every week as being able to play and interact with the children is my biggest stress reliever. I can't take photos of the kids but they are some of the cutest kids.

Looking Forward To
I know it might be silly but one thing I am really looking forward to is Mockingjay part 2 coming out.

Okay I think this was a good update on my life but before I go just wanted to share one more song from Glee... there were so many good performances but this was probably one of my favorites. 
Song- Mashup: "Rumor Has It/Someone Like You"
The last 30 seconds probably won't make sense unless you have seen the show.