Book Club Picks: The Undoing of Saint Silvanus

So every month  a different member in my book club chooses a book for us to read and discuss the next month.

So the member who’s turn it was, was thinking of possibly doing a mystery. When our group met, she decided on this:

The Undoing of Saint Silvanus: A Novel by Beth Moore

This is Beth Moore’s first novel after years of nonfiction. It was something new but something she had been thinking about doing for a while.

Hmm…

Julia Stillwater is living in San Francisco in an controlling and very bad relationship. But when she discovers that her boyfriend is cheating on her she is hit hard and unsure of what to do.

Then she receives a call that her long estranged father is dead.

And that her grandmother, the ice queen, who she also hasn’t seen in over twenty years is offering to pay her way to New Orleans so she could attend the funeral.

As her life is currently in shambles, Jillian decides to take it.

However, there is a lot that was kept from her. It turns out that the housekeeper, Adella Atwater, came up with the idea for a family reunion, not her grandmother, Olivia.

This could get ugly.

It also turns out that she lives in an church turned boarding house-full of all kinds of characters. There is David a forty-year old bachelor and music teacher; Carrie a student in medical school and always studying or working; and an elderly dementia suffering woman.

What have I gotten myself into?

With no money, no reason to go back to San Francisco, and not sure what to do…she remains in the house.

Seriously

Meanwhile, the New Orleans Police Department have been looking into the murder of Jillian’s father, Raphael. But while they try to uncover a killer, a lot of other strange things start happening. Baby things are left outside the house, someone tries to break into the house, things go missing, etc. The NOPD spend a lot of time coming to the house trying to figure out what does this all mean? A sentiment shared by the rest of the residents.

Besides that Saint Silvanus holds a secret from its first beginning as a church. Will it be revealed?

Hmm…

Will Jillian ever learn the truth about her fathers death? Will she grow to enjoy living in Saint Silvanus? Will her family rifts be mended? Or torn further apart?

Hmm…

So let’s start with what I didn’t care for or thought wasn’t as finished.

1)First of all Jillian is unsure what to do when she comes across the homeless. She has never had to deal with such things and finds the “sour smells” of the city unbearable.

Come on now. I am from California and have been to San Francisco many times. I have been everywhere from the high price areas to the touristy ones and there are homeless EVERYWHERE. They hide in bushes and jump out to surprise you; walk out into traffic; are on every street corner along with “sour” smells. I don’t know what San Francisco Moore encountered but that sounds nothing like the one in California.

2) What happened with the church?

So throughout the novel, Moore has the story of the church’s beginning and the first pastor intersecting with the story of Jillian. But she never really says why this matters to the characters as they have no connection to each other and they never say who killed the minister. Was it suicide or murder?

3) There are a lot of little details missing.

Hmm…

In my class, The History of the Novel, we read an article about how hard it is for a nonfiction author to switch to fiction as there are a lot of little things they aren’t used to writing about-how they look, the clothes they wear, the food they eat, etc. Moore falls into the same issue as she doesn’t always describe her characters. For instance she calls Julianna “dark”. Dark hair? Dark skin? Mexican? African-American? Greek? Spanish? Italian? Black hair? Brown? Chestnut?

I know it is her first time writing a “novel” so it makes sense there are a few kinks.

4) The mystery isn’t really mysterious

I knew as soon as the character entered the picture. It was extremely obvious the way they acted was not normal

So what was good?

1) The characters

The characters were amazing! I loved every single one and each felt extremely lifelike and ones you would meet in real life.

They all had their own hangups, issues, and backgrounds that were relatable-either to you or reminded you of someone you know. They made the book interesting, a page turner, and had you feel at home in Saint Silvanus.

This in itself made the book worth reading.

For more of my book clubs reads, go to Book Club Picks: At Home in Mitford

For more mysteries, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

So after this book it is my turn to pick the next book. I was going to bring a few choices to the meeting and pulled out a western, as you know I love stuff like that:

I also took out My Fair Godmother as that book cracks me up.

I was trying to think of a third option, when I decided on one book that’s been sticking in my mind:

Yes, my book club is going to read The Darcy Monologues. This will be very interesting as:

  1. One member has read the book and seen the 1940, 1995, and 2005 versions.
  2. One member has only seen the 1995 and 2005 versions, never read the book.
  3. And the other member has not seen any film or read the book.

Will they love it? Will they hate it? I don’t know, but I am sure of one thing:

And we all know what I thought of it:

Read what I think of Part I: The Regency and Part II: Other Eras

T-I-E-R-D…Tired

I haven’t been posting lately because I’ve just been so busy this week. At work we have summer reading signups, lots more children coming into my programs, my other jobs needing my time, trying to fit in my friends, my niece is visiting, etc.- it seems as if every day there is less time to do everything.

An obstacle course to try and get everything done.

And I just feel so dang tired. I just want to sleep all the time.

But things should settle down to normal soon. As for now…I’m going to take a nap.

For more on being tired, go to Tired With a Capital T

For more on my everyday life, go to Something’s Scratching at the Window

You Can Never Have Enough

That is false:

You can never have too many books:

You have no more room? Just make more space! Get creative, artsy, more shelving!

Only if they are bookshelves, Mr. Collins.

Yes, book lovers are never satisfied with what they have, they always need more.

But we book lovers wouldn’t have life any other way.

 

More book-filled posts, go to Rainy Days Are Reading Days

For more on Mr. Collins, go to You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce

Something’s Scratching at the Window

The other day I woke up at four in the morning, having fallen asleep while watching TV, with an upset stomach. It turned out to be pre-period cramps.

 

Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

As I knew it was going to be impossible to go back to sleep right away, I decided to go to the bathroom and brush my teeth, wash my face, maybe do a mask or scrub, etc.-until the pain passed. While I was in the bathroom I heard a noise that went like this:

Scritch, scritch, scritch, scrith…

It sounded as if something was clawing under the window.

So the window in the bathroom is really old. It is a slat window that has to be opened with a lever, and because of its age it never shuts completely. And the acoustics are really good there as people who are across the yard sound as if they are right next to you.

Ugh.

So at first I wasn’t freaked out. I figured it must be a raccoon or possum or something just digging around in the yard or on a trash can.

Meh.

But then I heard it again and it was louder…and it wouldn’t stop…and it sounded like it was right next to me.

Ahhh!

For a split second my mind went to there is a monster out there:

In fact it made me think of that old “scary” story that everyone told at slumber parties; where the two people are stranded in a car and the boyfriend leaves to go for help. While he is gone the girlfriend continuously hears a scratch, scratch, scratch (or tap, tap, tap) while the boyfriend is gone. In the end, a psycho has been scratching at her car or the boyfriend has been killed and his body is hanging overhead.

I’m sure you’ve heard one of the versions of it.

So yes, I went there but then I bounced back. I was certain it was no big deal and going to scare off whatever animal was making that noise.

The gun is a metaphor. I wasn’t going to shoot any animals.

I was just about to walk out of the bathroom and go check outside when something jumped into the window!!!!!!!!!!

And then I saw clawed fingers poking into the cracks of the window!!!!!!!

And I have to admit:

But then this thing started to meow angrily.

And my brain realized that the clawed fingers were just the clawed paws of my cat. Lack of sleep, cramps, it being early morning, whatever-had made me not realize that the hands I saw were tiny cat paws not monster hands.

Yes, since I had fallen asleep watching TV, I didn’t bring my cat in and I guess she heard me in the bathroom, or saw the light-but somehow figured out I was in there and was trying to get my attention to let her in.

But hey, I will take being trolled by my cat over a real psychopath (or rodent) scratching under my window any day.

For more of my scary adventures, go to A Bump in the Night

For more on cats, go to Cat Lovers All Know This

For more stories from my everyday life, go to Road Rage

If this stokes your appetite for horror, check out Horrorfest, Horrorfest II, Horrorfest  III, Horrorfest IV, & Horrorfest V

Pride and Prejudice Paper Dolls

Pride and Prejudice Paper Dolls by Brenda Sneathen Mattox

So a few weeks ago I was planning on meeting my friend for lunch, and found myself with a few extra hours. I was downtown, which had recently received a makeover and a ton of vintage and antique shops have moved in. Usually I never get to look at them as they all have the same hours as my job does. But it was my day off so I was finally able to window shop.

Sadly not everything was open, but there were quite a few. I found something to buy my dad for Father’s Day and had a few ideas for another friend. Then one shop I entered had this:

Instantly I was thinking:

So CUTE!

I grew up with paper dolls. I remembered how much fun I had with them. I used to play for hours as a child. The only bad thing was that they tended to rip and tear. And they became harder and harder to find.

Aw.

So at first I was like I NEED this:

But then I thought, what would I do with it? I mean I don’t have any one to play with. My niece who is just the right age doesn’t live near me. Better not…

But then I thought, what a fantastic gift for her. Her birthday is coming up! She could have so much fun with it. I mean look at the clothes!

But then as I was thinking about it, she doesn’t know Pride and Prejudice. She probably wouldn’t even care for it. Most likely it would just be thrown away.

So I decided, better not buy it. I should just live it for someone else to enjoy.

Weeks passed and I just can’t get it out of my mind. Look at them:

I mean Bingley is just so cute, Darcy so stoic, and Elizabeth looks like she is thinking of something witty. Not to mention:

Look at the smugness on Wickham’s face, they captured it perfectly. And look at Lydia’s silly manner.

It is weighing on my mind.

After I thought and thought about it, I came up with the perfect justification. I could give it to my friend who loves Pride and Prejudice as a gag gift. She would think it was cute; although she probably wouldn’t use it (but she wouldn’t throw it away.) Yes, it was perfect. I was going back for it.

But when I went back, I couldn’t remember which store it had been in.

I had just been walking in any stores that were open so I had not even paid attention to the names.

So I know you are thinking, why not buy it on amazon? Well first of all it was half the price in the shop, and secondly it had gotten in me. I needed that particular one. I had to find it.

So I waited (and hoped it would still be there) for my next day off in which I decided I would look through all the shops for it.

Well my next day off fell on a different day of the week: one in which ALL the shops were open.

I combed through every square of every single shop, but I just could not find it. All I could remember was that it was in a basket with a bunch of other books, in a store that had cute Disney stuffed animals and some glassware.

But it wasn’t totally horrible, I did find a cute teacup for my friend’s birthday in her favorite color.

Here it is on my bookshelf until I can give it to her.

But no book of paper dolls.

I was preparing to go, when I decided to go back to one store that was very close in to what I remembered. I started searching, but found no basket full of books.

Aw.

But then just as I was headed out the door I saw a gray tin full of books. I had nothing else to lose, so I decided to take a look through. And guess what, it was there.

I’m great

I bought it and headed for home. But now that I have it, I’m not so sure I want to give it away. I mean I spent a lot of time looking for that, I think I might keep it.

It is pretty cute with having a brief synopsis of the story and has such cute designs for the Bennet’s every day wear, the Assembly Ball, Wickham’s uniform, dinner at Rosings, Elizabeth’s muddy dress, etc.

It is just so cute.

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency