Shame Book Tag

So I was just checking out what dinged on my comments and I saw I was tagged in Audra’s Book Blabbing for the Shame Book Tag. Aw, thank you for tagging:

So I was tagged like a looong time ago but its taken me forever because this is actually really hard!

Uh oh

I don’t really get embarrassed or feel ashamed-so it took some time as I had to really think and come up with an answers to these!

1. A Book that Everyone Hates but You Love

The Secret of Chimneys (Superintendent Battle #1) by Agatha Christie

So I have talked about this book before-but I just can’t stop. I LOVE it, yet everyone else seems to just feel okay about it or they can’t stand it. Why? I don’t know.

Why, not?

It is very different from Agatha Christie’s other books as it is a mystery, spy story, thriller, adventure story, and more. It actually contains five plots-yes, FIVE-that all interconnect. Missing memoirs, blackmail, a game of thrones, missing jewels, and a murder. Plus we have characters who they are one thing but are secretly something else-such as one is a prince, one a thief, one a Pinkerton agent, and one is an actress.

Plus Virginia Revel is an amazing character! Widowed, independent woman who is up for adventure, investigations, and more. She is AWESOME! Believe me!

I think some people struggle with it being so different from her other works, but I love it and completely recommend it.

For more on The Secret of Chimneys, go to Book Club Picks: The Secret Of Chimneys

For more Agatha Christie, go to The Murderer is Never the One You Initially Suspect: Crooked House (2017)

2. Unpopular Character You Love

Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

So Harry Potter, I’m sure you have heard of it. A boy finds out he is a Wizard and the Chosen One, and continues on a journey trying to learn magic, information on his family, and stop evil.

So I know a lot of people hate Draco Malfoy, but when I was reading it, he cracked me up. “Wait until my father hears about this!” “Potter!” I mean Harry was nice, but Draco was zesty! He’s just one of those you love to hate.

For more on Harry Potter, go to What Separates the Real Fans from the Fakes

3. A Book Boyfriend You Know You Shouldn’t Love

Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

I’ve talked about this many times, I love Wuthering Heights, it has always been one of my favorite books. The story is a man gets trapped at Wuthering Heights for the night and encounters a ghost of a woman, Catherine. He then is after the whole story and hears a tale of star crossed lovers, abuse, unhappiness, the moors, revenge, etc.

Heathcliff was one of my first book boyfriends, and even though I will always love him, I know he would be horrible in a relationship. I understand how Heathcliff feels-with no last name and known family-he is essentially without a social security card and has no way of really doing anything. However, because he is hurt, he then hurts others-and no matter what happened to him that behavior is never okay.

For more Wuthering Heights, go to Book Club Picks: Wuthering Heights

For more Heathcliff, go to One of Many

4. A Book You Know Is Bad But Still Love

Bittersweet (California Historical Series #2) by Cathy Marie Hake

So this was the hardest of all. THIS IS NOT A BAD BOOK!  Instead I chose a book that was predictable. 

Laney Harris is the daughter of a wealthy landowner. She has been in love with Galen O’Sullivan as soon as she returned from finishing school. The problem is that he sees her as nothing more than a child. She continues to do all she can, but Galen has enough on his mind with running the farm; taking care of his mother and three brothers, being in charge of the pony express horses; and a family of squatters (father and twins-brother and sister) residing on one of his acres. But one day Galen realizes that Laney is a woman and strives to win her, but before he can pop the question he is accused of impregnating the squatter’s daughter and forced to marry her. Now Laney has to live out being a Christian even when everything she wanted has been taken away. And Galen has to release the love of his life. Will the story end in happiness or only sorrow?

So this book isn’t bad, (although they talk a lot about how thin she is and pulling the stays tighter and tighter-that I consider bad) but it is predictable and some of characters are a little bland, like Laney’s sister-in-law and brother. But the story was really cute, even though you had a pretty good idea how it will end.

For more on Bittersweet, go to Top O’ the Morning: 7 More Irish Heroes

5. Underrated Author

Carrie Anne Noble

This was a really hard pick as I’m not sure which authors were in need of some serious love and was wondering who I should pick. I was looking through my books read list and I settled on Carrie Anne Noble.

I first was introduced to her with The Mermaid’s Sister, getting a free pre-release copy from Netgalley. I LOVED it and began following her on Instagram. She followed me back and let me just say her instagram is sooo cute!! 

Then she saw my Saint Patrick’s Day book display I did for library and she gifted us her book The Gold-Son. I know, how sweet and thoughtful! She didn’t ask us for anything, or to post about her, she just decided to send her book to us completely free. Of course, after she gave us the book I had to read that one too!

I think her work is fantastic and she is such a sweet person. You should check her and her books out!

6. A Book that You Don’t Want People to Know You’ve Read

Masquerade by Jenna Ryan

So years ago I was checking out a library book sale and I found this book and bought it as the synopsis sounded great. Gabrielle grew up with a street gang, robbing from people like Fagen’s kids in Oliver Twist. Gabrielle, now Rielle, and her best friend Luke left that all behind-she becoming a famous fashion designer while Luke moved up to white collar crime. The Phantom, a serial killer taking out actresses, goes after Luke, the only one who knows its true identity. When Luke vanishes, Rielle teams up with Adrian De La Costa, Brazillian race car driver and Luke’s cousin, and they head to a midsummer event in a mansion on the Yorkshire coast to discover what happened to him. There are a group of really imaginative characters, and any of them could be the killer.

I loved the gothic fiction, and how it referenced Dracula, The Phantom of the Opera, Charles Dickens, etc. I was telling my mom about it and when she saw the book she realized it was a Harlequin romance. That was embarrassing-but not really. I loved the book and there wasn’t really any sex or even kissing in the book-that’s why I didn’t catch it. I still love it and read it as it is a fun little novel.

I Tag:

Don’t forget to tag me back as I’d love to see what you choose!

For more books posts, go to Happiness is Having a Library Card: Another 13 of the Best Fictional Libraries

Happiness is Having a Library Card: Another 13 of the Best Fictional Libraries

So if you’ve been following me, you are pretty aware of my love of libraries.

A few years ago I did a post on 13 of my favorite fictional libraries from TV, film, and books. I really enjoyed doing it as I love libraries!

But after I did it, I noticed more amazing libraries. So here we go, another 13 Favorite Fictional Libraries.

SheBlindedMeW:SciLibrary

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13) Bruce Templeton’s Library from The Glass Bottom Boat (1966)

In The Glass Bottom Boat, by chance Jennifer Nelson (Doris Day), NASA tour guide and mermaid for her father’s glass bottom boat business, meets “Space Science Wizard” and inventor, Bruce Templeton (Rod Taylor). He likes her and hires her to write about his “new” project so he can spend time and woo her. The only problem is, he’s working on Top Secret Project GISMO, that Russian spies are after. Due to a simple misunderstanding, the CIA believe Jennifer to be a spy trying to get information from him. The actions afterwards are zany slapstick. And when Jennifer finds out the truth, boy does she get mad-and even.

Why the library is awesome!: So after Bruce made millions on all his inventions, he bought a gigantic house and made it state of the art. With all that money, you know he went to work creating a wonderful library as well. Just imagine what kind of books he owns!

For more on The Glass Bottom Boat, go to Mata Hari Stops At Nothing. Nothing Comes Between Mata Hari and What She Wants: The Glass Bottom Boat (1966)

12)The King’s Son’s Library in The Garden of Paradise by Hans Christian Anderson

The King’s Son loves to read and has read all the books on everything in the world. However, he is severely disappointed that there is nothing on the Garden of Paradise. He bemoans that they have missed out on the wonders and berates Adam and Eve for giving into temptation and how he would have done better. But when he gets his chance will he make the right choice, or give into temptation as well?

Why the library is awesome!: It is only mentioned in the beginning of the story, but sounds so amazing!!!

“There was once a King’s son. Nobody had so many or such beautiful books as he had. He could read about everything which had ever happened in the world and see it in the most beautiful pictures.”

I would love that as my own.

For more on Hans Christian Anderson, go to I Will Not Bend, I Will Not Break

11) Count Alexei Alexandrovich Karenin’s Library from Anna Karenina (1948)

So Anna Karenina is a long book that is hard to do in a simple summary, but I’ll try. Anna Karenina arrives at her brother’s home, to help out in his matrimonial woes (he was cheating on his wife with the governess). She convinces his wife to give her brother another chance and all is right. Meanwhile, Kitty (her sister-in-law) is trying to decide between two men-Levin and Count Vronsky. She chooses Count Vronsky, but after he sets eyes on Anna-that’s who he wants, even though she is married. Anna tells him to stop, but he continues to pursue her, and as her husband is more married to the state than his wife-she ultimately succumbs. While they fall into sin, Levin has a farm and in nature becomes closer to God and Kitty, as she discovers he is the better man. As this is a Russian story, the end is not happy but sad as Anna discovers the inequality of women in court and discovers that her love affair will cost her more than she ever imagined.

Why the library is awesome!: So Count Alexi has an amazing, multi-leveled library. As he is an important man of state it is probably full of law records and such, but still cool when you have so many books and such high shelves that you need a stepladder to get them. And check out that amazing writing desk and beautiful candlesticks. One classy and gorgeous library.

For more on Anna Karenina, go to Anna Karenina Made Me View Maria Bertram-Rushworth and Mary Crawford Differently

10) John Lockwood’s Museum from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

In Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom Claire Dearing and Owen have separated and she has started a group to save the dinosaurs from extinction as the volcano on the island is going to errupt. When the Senate refuses to save them, John Lockwood (John Hammond’s old partner) reaches out to Claire to go to the island and save some, relocating them to a new island and sanctuary. Claire does, but it turns out that Lockwood’s assistant, Eli Mills, sent a mercenary team to capture some and sell at an auction. Claire, Owen (he’s back of course), and two new crew members Zia Rodriguez and Franklin Webb head out to the island and follow the crew back to the estate. Will they be able to save the dinosaurs, or end up gobbled up?

Why the library is awesome!: So they call it a museum, but I consider it a library as the second floor is full of books and comfy reading chairs. This library has dinosaur fossils and the models of what they would actually look like. Plus the spiral staircases and the comfortable leather sofas. And I bet those books are full of all kinds of dinosaur information.

9) The Vampire Library in “Blood Bound” from Choices

in Blood Bound you become the assistant to the amazing buisnessman, Adrian Raines. Things take a much different turn than you expected when it turns out that Adrian is a vampire! He was turned in the Revolutionary War, and now resides on the council and is trying to create a serum that will reverse the vampire effects. Another member on the council is trying to remove Adrian and use that serum to attack. Meanwhile, while more and more people are turning into vampires, but not added to a clan (which protects them from becoming feral-mindless killers), things start escalating to a full on vampire revolution of the unprotected against the clans. Will you help Adrian and stand by the council? Or join the rebels as they try to achieve justice? The choice is yours!

Why the library is awesome!: This library is the “true” history of the world”, told from the vampires and all that really occurred. It also houses different historical and powerful artifacts.

For more on Choices, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 9, An Indelicate Proposal

8) Dr. Jekyll’s Library in “Nowhere to Hyde” from Scooby-Doo, Where are You! (1970)

Scooby-Doo and the gang are always going out and about to different places and running into mysteries. They can’t say no to helping and quickly get caught up on a new case. In this episode, someone stole from a jewelry store and hid in the Mystery Machine. They discover the thief-who frightens them and follow him to Dr. Jekyll’s house. Could it be that his experiments created a monster? Or is someone trying to frame him?

Why the library is awesome!: So it is not a long scene, just a snippet, but enough to make you want it. Shelves and shelves of books, on all types of subjects from science to gothic fiction. The shelves also move to reveal secret rooms and passageways and trapdoors. How awesome would it be to have a library like that?

For more on Scooby-Doo, go to Nowhere to Hyde: Scooby-Doo Where Are You? (1970)

7) Penderghast University Library in “The Elementalists” from Choices

In The Elemetalists, you play as a normal girl who finds herself in another world, at Penderghast University, studying Magick and having superhuman abilities. What will be your core Magick, who will you fall in love with, what will happen next? It’s all up to you.

Why the library is awesome!: So like Harry Potter this is a magic library, with flying books, spells, and everything you could want. Sooo cool! I especially like the flying books, how easy it would be to carry those around and send them straight to your hand!

For more on Choices, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 8, Ill Repute

6) Carl Conrad Coreander’s Shop in The NeverEnding Story (1984)

So in the book, Mr. Coreander runs an antique store while in the film it is a bookstore. However, as Coreander has no interest in selling any tome, it really is his library and therefore is on the list.

Bastian is a lonely, bullied boy. He lives with a checked out single dad, does not enjoy school, and escapes his sadness by reading. One day he is running from bullies when he stops in the store to hide. There he meets Mr. Coreander and spots The NeverEnding Story. Intrigued by the title, he tries to buy it, but Mr. Coreander won’t sell it. Instead Bastian steals it, intending to bring it back later after reading, and hides out in the school attic reading it. There he goes to the land of Fantasia and finds himself a PART of the story!

Why the library is awesome!: So this one is so high up the list because I love Mr. Coreander. He is an adorable curmudgeon and I just love him and get him. He is someone who is unhappy with the techno craze and loves books, wishing more people did. He loves his books and hates having them leave him. I get that as I feel the same-I wish more people, espechially kids, would put the devices down and pick books up! Plus, he has THE NEVERENDING STORY!!!! THE NEVERENDING STORY, how COOL is THAT?!!!

For more on The NeverEnding Story, go to A Book Only a Reader Could Write

5) The Reform Club in Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne

Phileas Fogg is a man with money and spends his days reading at the Reform Club. There he overhears a conversation about traveling ’round the world, and bets £20,000 that he can do it in 80 days. He sets off with his valet, Passepartout, and is followed by a Detective Fix, who believes him to be a bank robber (he matches the description of the robber). On their way they have all kinds of adventures from rescuing a princess in India, riding elephants, being attacked on a train in America, and more.

Why the library is awesome!:

Phileas Fogg is an avid reader, as in that is what he primarily spends his days doing, yet he owns no library himself. He feels it would be superfluous as he is a member of the reform library which has not one, but two libraries. One of general literature, while the other is of law and politics. For someone to be such a huge reader and not have their own library, that means the Reform Club’s library has to be AmAzing!

For more on Around the World in 80 Days, go to I Think I Have Found a Means of Conveyance…An Elephant: Around the World in 80 Days

4) The Parrish Library from Jumanji (1995)

Alan Parrish is bullied constantly, and with his parents wanting to send him away to boarding school-he decides to run away. But before he does, he and his friend Sarah, play a mysterious game he found, Jumanji. When Alan rolls, he gets sucked into the game, and all is forgotten for 26 years. Then Judy and Peter move into the old Parrish house with their aunt who plans on turning it into a bed and breakfast. The two find the game and unleash monkeys, mosquitoes, a lion, Alan, and more. Now it is up to them to finish the game and right everything, before their aunt finds out-or worse something eats him.

Why the library is awesome!: We don’t spend too much time in the library, but like The NeverEnding Story this ranks so high due to nostalgia. I always wanted this library. I loved the way the chairs were, the colors of the room, the wood paneling, how it was so old fashioned. I liked how there were knick knacks in the shelves and that’s how I’ve had my library ever since. I’ve always hated the scene when the stampeded comes through, NO-NOT the LIBRARY!

For more on Jumanji, go to A Little Monkey Business: Chinese New Year

3) Aunt Marie’s Trailer from Grimm

So Grimm is a modern day telling of the Grimm Fairy Tales but with a twist. Creatures from the fairy tales live among us, appearing as human to all but a select few. Instead of being the “brothers Grimm”, the Grimm are certain people who have the ability to see those monsters, or Wesen as they are called, from the tales. The series centers on Nick Burkhardt, Portland Police Officer, who discovers he is a Grimm and actually does what no Grimm has before-befriends Wesen and jails those that are attacking (some he does kill). In his crew he has his police partner: a vegetarian Blutbad (Werewolf) named MonroeFuschbau (Fox) named Rosalee; other Grimm, and more.

Why the library is awesome!: So I know they never call it a library, but it technically is. There are books from throughout the centuries, all over the world, written by all kinds of Grimm on different Wessen. Besides the stacks of books, there all all kinds of weapons, potions, film reels, Crusader keys that lead to great treasure, etc. In season 3 episode 21, The Inheritance, Josh Porter and his father travel to Portland and give Nick a trunk full of Grimm weapons and books. In season 5 episode 10, Map of the Seven Knights, Monroe’s uncle Felix is approached by a colleague about some old books she found. He recognizes them as Grimm books and tries to set a bargain with Nick. He travels to Oregon, and they become a part of Nick’s collection, along with another key to the map. Sadly, in season 4 episode 9, Iron Hans, Juliette sets fire to the trailer, burning countless irreplaceable literature and weaponry. I have to admit that scene made me cry more than any other-too far Juliet! Too far! Luckily for Uncle Felix or there would be nothing left on the subject.

For more on Grimm, go to Top O’ the Morning: 7 More Irish Heroes

2) The Addam’s Family Library in The Addam’s Family (1991)

The Addams family is a gothic themed family living in modern times. Gomez and Morticia live there happily or, depressingly, with their kids Wednesday and Pugsley-and servants Lurch and Hand. All would be great, except they are missing Gomez’ brother Fester, who disappeared after they had a falling out. The Addams’ lawyer, Tully Alford, owes money to a loan shark and hatches a plan with the loan shark to use her son, Gordon, to pose as Fester (he looks just like him)-infiltrate the family, and get all the money. But as Gordon/Fester spends more time with the family, he grows to really like him. Will he stick to the plan? Or change sides?

Why the library is awesome!:

So the library is gorgeous in the decoration and Victorian Gothic features. It has floor to ceiling bookcases, an Iron Maiden, organ, fireplace, swords, and beautiful antiques. Plus the bookcases move to reveal a safe, and you open up some they make things happen-like Gone With the Wind releases a tornado. You have to be careful as these books aren’t your everyday literature.

For more on The Addams Family, go to Because We’re Addams: The Addams Family (1991)

1) Pemberley Library, from Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

This needs no summary:

Why the library is awesome!:

Mr. Darcy loves to read and being a gentleman-you know he is going to have one sweet library. One with priceless books inherited from his ancestors and adding to it all the time

“I am astonished,” said Miss Bingley, “that my father should have left so small a collection of books. What a delightful library you have at Pemberley, Mr. Darcy!”

   “It ought to be good,” he replied; “it has been the work of many generations.”

“And then you have added so much to it yourself, you are always buying books.”

It would be hard to turn that down. Elizabeth,  I don’t know how you did it.

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to I Only Read Pride and Prejudice Because I Hated the Keira Knightley Adaptation

For my original post of 13 Best Fictional Libraries, go to Heaven on Earth: 13 of the Best Fictional Libraries

For more bookish posts, go to An Ode to Goodreads

For more on libraries, go to My Home Away from Home

 

An Ode to Goodreads

Have you heard about Goodreads?

If you have, sorry for this little moment of explanation for the non-Goodreaders. Goodreads is a site where you can keep track of the books you have read, create to-read book lists, follow authors, review books and read reviews, etc. If you haven’t checked it out, you should now.

So why do a post on Goodreads? Goodreads has changed my book loving life.

Flashback to 2009, here sits Moreland having finished a wonderful book, but angry because again she has read a series out of order.

Not again!

Blast it!! I read book three instead of book one because this series listed their book in alphabetical order on the inside of the cover instead of numerically! Why does this keep happening to me? Why must I constantly be troubled by reading books out of order and getting confused as to what book comes next! If only there was a way to find this out, a place I could go to…

Ugh, if only…

[Narrator voiceover] And as she sat in her room contemplating this, little did she know that her whole book loving life was about to change, in an instant with a click of the mouse.

So all dramatics aside, I don’t know about you but this has been a serious book problem with me growing up. I don’t know why publishers have to make it so ever-loving hard for us. The publisher decides to list them alphabetically, I end up reading book three or four first.

Not again!

They decide to do it by most recent publishing, same thing. It is so stinking annoying.

Why?

I don’t remember exactly how I came upon Goodreads, I think I was looking for a book and clicked on the link and came upon it, (I’m not 100% sure as this happened almost ten years ago), but whatever brought me there has made the last 10 book loving years fantastic!

With Goodreads I haven’t read a series out of order and actually get to understand the characters, the plot line, and the direction that the author intended to go.

With Goodreads I can track authors and see all they have written and get updates on what is coming. There are books my favorite authors have written that I had no clue about until I went on this site.

Since then I’ve been able to keep track of what I have read as well. And that is so helpful. I know it sounds weird, but everyday I’m at work-I work at a library-I run into people complaining about these same issues. What order to read it, what else has been written, did I read this already?

We have people “brand” books, make some kind of note or symbol to show they’ve read it and I tell them all about Goodreads.

Maybe you’ve finished a book or series and don’t know what to read next? I have parents ask me that all the time, and the answer? Goodreads. For every book in the upper right hand corner there is a suggestion of 18 others that people who have read that have liked. AMAAZING!

You never have to feel this way with Goodreads!

Plus the reading challenge? I started in 2011, and love creating a book reading goal and reaching it!! And I love how it lists out how many books you’ve read that year, the longest, shortest, most read by others, least, etc.

Plus, you can enter cool giveaways for awesome books. One of my favorites I won in a giveaway, Theft of Swords: Book One and Two of the Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan.

You can join groups, connect with other readers, make friends, etc.

So I was not paid to do this, or receiving any compensation at all. I just was feeling nostalgic and grateful and wanted to just let Goodreads know how I so very much appreciate all the work they have done.

For more book loving posts, go to Literary Tea Parties

For more Goodreads, go to A Quest of Swords and Wizards: The Crown Conspiracy

Literary Tea Parties

So I few years ago I did a post on a tea party that we had at my church. Of course, you know how I love books…I just had to tie them in together!

To read the whole post, click here. So every year at my church we do a Christmas Tea Party, and the past three years my friend and I had a table that I’ve been in charge of decorating. And if you think I just had to feature a book each year, than you are right! I love books!

In 2016, the theme was “Our Journey”, and shoes were the center as it was about “the paths we take”. Of course shoes made me think of one thing:

As Dorothy and all her friends go on a journey, along with having a magical pair of shoes,  it was PERFECT! We did a:

  • Yellow Brick Road Runner: Canvas that we painted with three different shades of yellow
  • Poppy Magnets as our favors: I used this one from Hometalk and did button centers and glued magnets on the back.
  • Mason jar water glasses with gingham ribbons and red mugs for coffee or tea.
  • Wicked Witch of the East candy straws: I got the straws from Wal-Mart and made the shoes from Swedish Fish.
  • We painted our own Emerald City on glasses.
  • And I sewed a sock monkey king of the flying monkeys, out of black and white socks (just like the ones the Wicked Witch of the East wears). Yes, I sewed it-help from Madsen Creations and my mom.
  • We made our own Dorothy’s magic red shoes, but they weren’t ready when I took the picture, so I put my own red shoes in there.
  • And of course, a copy of the book.

The next year the theme was “Friendship”

So my friend and I choose to do:

Last Christmas the theme was Holy Ghost…hmmm ghosts. Which book? 🙂

  • We used a holly and cranberry patterned runner on the table.
  • Sheets of music as place mats, with red chargers over them.
  • The centerpiece was a Christmas Tree, as those became popular in the Victorian era with Prince Albert, that I strung with popcorn.
  • I also placed a basket with the Christmas gifts/favors as that was how Victorian tables were set up. Each package was a different copy of A Christmas Carol. I got them all by swapping on PaperBackSwap.com I wrapped them up in brown paper and red yarn.
  • We had chestnuts on the table and each place setting got on orange, as they were very popular gifts, but I didn’t put cloves in it as you can’t eat them when you do that.
  • We had Earl Grey Tea, Hot Chocolate, and candy canes.
  • Each person received a homemade Christmas Card (made by me), and each had a little token in it, my version of the Christmas pudding.

This year the theme is gifts and I have to admit, I’m a bit at a loss. Any ideas of a book that gifts plays a role?

Please help me!

For more on The Wizard of Oz, go to Bookish Thank You

For more on A Christmas Carol, go to Book Club Picks: A Christmas Carol

For more tea posts, go to I Ran Out of Milk So I Put Buttermilk in My Tea

For more book-filled posts, go to Stranded at the Bookstore

Book Club Picks: Julie

So Happy Mother’s Day All!

I have never done a mother’s day post before, why? I don’t know. I must have been too busy celebrating my mom.

I had wanted to review The Mother Keeper on Mother’s Day, I thought it would be cute-but I didn’t want to put off my book club pick reviews that long. I thought I would have them all finished and be caught up by now.

I knooooooooooooow!!! I am so behind. I don’t know what happened. I have no excuse.

What’s happening?

So I decided that I would kill two birds with one stone. For Mother’s Day I will honor my mother with a review of one of her favorite books, which is also the next Book Club Pick up for review-her choice of course. For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, book club reviews? Never fear-I can give a brief recap.

So as you all know I started a book club, because you know me and books…

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. This time, as I mentioned above, the book club member-my mother chose:

Julie by Catherine Marshall

I would also recommend this as a Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers

So this book was written by Catherine Marshall, of the Christy fame. She based the book on her own life, including the poetry she wrote when she was a young girl, and the Johnstown Flood.

Julie comes from a family of five, the Wallaces-mother, father, Julie, a sister Anne-Marie, and a younger brother, Tim. Her father was a Minster in the South, but for some reason unknown to her and her siblings, has quit the ministry and a stable good-paying job to in Depression ridden American to use his wife’s small inheritance to purchase a newspaper,The Sentinel, in Alderton, Pennsylvania.

What’s going on?

Have any of you seen North and South? I love that miniseries (and plan on reviewing it sometime). But the reason I bring it up is that in that series the Dad quits the church and moves them from the South to the factory-filled North. And we are all on the edge of our seat trying to figure out what happened, and it takes quite some time until they reveal it.

It’s the same here. The left the beautiful South to go to North, the town of Alderton, controlled by Yoder Iron and Steel (based on Carnegie Steel). They are shocked when they see the cut up land and the haze and soot.  And boy when they reveal what happened to make the dad leave, it’s a doozy. Worth reading defintely.

Wow

Julie was hurt and upset that they left her senior year to start all over again somewhere new, and completely confused as to why. The trip doesn’t start off with the best of origins as their car overheats and they get covered in mud.

They are rescued by Randolph Munro Wilkerson, English Aristocrat, here in America to run the Hunting and Fishing Club. I know that might sound a little strange, but this is he 1930s when limited income royals were marrying the “gilded” heiresses.

Julie is completely mortified that she has this handsome stranger meeting a muddy mess.

When they get to their home and office, the family is shocked to discover that they are all to be the newspaper staff. Writing, editing, cleaning, collecting subscriptions, collecting ad space, etc. The hardest thing will be having to convince people who are already “trimming the fat” that a newspaper is something they need to spend money on.

This will not be easy

One day, a man, Dean Fleming, comes in to ask them to print some handbills for him and offers his services, free, everyday. Julie doesn’t like him as he knew that her father left the ministry and spoke to him about God and faith. She thinks he is going to use his volunteer time to try and force his philosophy on her father and them.

For the thousandth time

Julie starts school and makes some friends. She even likes the minister, Reverend Spencer Meloy, who I don’t like. He cares about social change and is avid about helping the steelworkers, unionizing, aiding the new immigrants by getting them better housing-etc. But to me it rings false. I think he is concerned about these issues, but I feel like he does it for the glory of himself, a complete contrast to Dean who cares about a lot of the same things but has a humble spirit. Dean continuously is there for the family, winning over everyone and becoming a part of the Wallaces.

So the Hunting and Fishing Club has this giant earthen dam, and from the very first moment Julie saw it she has felt weird about it. There is something dark and ominous about it. Now some of you might remember when there was that big scare with the Oroville Dam two years ago and everybody had to evacuate? My family had to be evacuated as we were in the potential danger zone and we went to Las Vegas to wait it out. Before that, I never knew that the Oroville Dam was an earthen dam either. When reading this book, it made me view things differently and brought back all the emotion and things we went through then.

So the Wallace family tries to adapt to their new surroundings and life. Julie helps out with the newspaper, along with navigating normal teenage issues-dating, school, etc. She still has a crush on Randolph, but doesn’t really see anything happening there.

Times get tougher and tougher, as Yoder steel lays people off and it looks like the newspaper is going to go bankrupt, and then what will the Wallaces do?

But thankfully, Dean comes through and the Wallace’s hang on. But times are tough and more and more people lose their jobs, which means less subscriptions. Mr. Wallace has been hit with bouts of depression, Mrs. Wallace saying that it was a malaria attack rising up again from when he spent a few months in the South. On these days, Dean always comes. He doesn’t call or get called, he just knows and comes to help him.

Dean is a powerful character who’s has an amazing relationship with Christ. He comes to help the Wallaces, praying for them nonstop and aiding them both spiritually and physically. Too bad the Hales didn’t have a Dean to aid them.

Flooding happens and the Wallace’s get scared, but the rest if the town is unfazed as it happens every season. The water is a little higher than normal, but flooding is just a part of Alderton. It is so horrible the National Guard is called in and keeps people from going into Alderton. Mr. Wallace is hit hard and becomes bed bound again as he worries about damage to the newspaper office.

When the water recedes and they can get to the town, they discover that the newspaper office is safe, the printing press ad paper managed to be just barely out of harms way. With her dad too ill, Julie picks up the slack and loves it.  Her stories get published, and even her poems later on.

Wow!

While writing the flood story Julie wonders about the Dam. She calls to interview them, but no dice.

I got this!

Spencer creates an aid helping organization to try and help the workers in the Lowlands (immigrants, minorities, etc.) This book presents the hard issues as they discuss who should take the blame for he damage? Who’s responsibility is it to help the people? The church? The town? Yoder Steel? The Federal Government?

Hmmm

Julie joins the crusade and learns about how Yoder treats their employees. They have a baseball team, fire department, library, night classes for the workers, etc. But they also have high rents, a company store that is bought on credit, and essentially “own” their employees. If you have ever read The Jungle (one of my favorite books) it is pretty much the same thing.

Things continue and graduation is looming along with Julie’s senior economic project. She’s unsure what to do it on until she hears her dad is visiting Tom McKeever Jr, (the Senior being the one who owns it) and she tags along hoping to get some answers on the Dam.

Julie finds out that the Dam was bought by private businessmen, which means that since it is not government owned there is no one fact-checking up on it-but it is up to the owners to decide what to do with it and make sure repairs are done, etc. The lake covers 450 acres and has 500 million tons of water. The spillways were fenced off (not good!!!) as the lake above stocked with fish.

Julie writes her paper and her father writes an editorial, that while isn’t outright saying there is a problem, it isn’t going to be something Yoder Steel will love.

A little while after the story is published, Mr. Wallace gets invited out to Tom McKeever, Senior’s private railroad car, a high honor. He brings Julie along to the meeting full of rich food and belongings, extremely posh-a complete contrast to how everyone done below is living. McKeever didn’t like the story and wants the Wallace’s to back off.

julie writes a story on the labor issue but her father won’t print it as it is too one sided. She angrily sends it to The New York Times and forgets all about it as she becomes intangled in love trapizoid with Rev. Spencer Meloy, Randolph, and high schooler Graham Gilliam. But the NY Times calls her a they are publishing the article.

Now this is where the book gets really good. Once I started reading and hit this part, I could not stop.

They start writing articles in The Sentinel, and Yoder Steel does not like it. It’s the Wallace’a against everybody as Yoder Steel tries to destroy them by killing their dog, harassing them, attacking the presses, attacking Julie, threatening others so they drop their subscriptions, etc. Everyone has to make a moral choice on who they will side with. As for the Wallaces, will they stay firm in their beliefs, or fall under Yoder Steel?

Besides that storm, an actual rainstorm is coming their way. And then the real bomb of the book is released.

“Life and death for everyone in Alderton that day hung on such small decisions as to where they would be in the early afternoon.” pg. 324

BOOOM!!! When I got to that line I was crazed to find out how it all ended.

Then the Dam breaks and all hell breaks loose.

Reading this part is amazing, the total destruction only takes a few minutes and she counts them one by one as to what happens. It was so frightening to read that and think that could have been us two years ago if the water went over the lip of the dam. With all the heavy rain and full rivers, we are still jittery. I leave a week’s worth of clothes in my trunk just in case we have to evacuate again.

So what makes this an Non-Austen Read for Austen Readers?

First, the story is about a young romantic, reminiscent of Catherine from Northanger Abbey or Marianne Dashwood from Sense & Sensibility. She loves to read-along with writing poetry and stories. She dates some of her schoolmates, but they just don’t bring up that feeling of romance she’s encountered in books and wants in real life (partly has to do with the fact she fell hard for the English Lord). By the end of the book her life experiences have matured her-keeping some of the same romantic soul, but like Catherine and Marianne, has learned to temper it. 

Julie gets a proposal from the Reverend Spencer Meloy, who I don’t like, and it is an awful proposal. Basically “we think alike and like the same things, lets get married.” Not quite as bad as Mr. Collins or Mr. Darcy but still bad.

Like Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility the Wallace family goes through numerous changes that they have no real control over. While the Wallace family is much poorer than the Elliots and the Dashwoods, these girls can relate as they have to trim the fat, adjust their life, and have others see them as not marriageable material from their lack of finances. 

Rev. Spencer Meloy reminds me of Mr. Elton and Mr. Collins as to me I felt he wasn’t really being a minister for Godbut instead was looking to lift himself and his interests. Like these two men, he focuses on what he wants and believes, only. He also proposes badly as he reads women wrongly-thinking Julie is just as interested in him as he is in her because of a “look she gave”, ugh gag.

Ugh, this guy!

But like I said, this was a fantastic book, and I highly recommend it!

For more Book Club Picks, go to Book Club Picks: The Mother Keeper

For more Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers, go to Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: The Glassblower

For more Christian novels, go to Book Club Pick: Far Side of the Sea

For more on The Great Depression, go to I Don’t Want the Money: It Happened One Night (1934)

For more bible verses, go to Book Club Picks: Desperate Pastors’ Wives

Stranded at the Bookstore

So years ago I posted this on my blog and the other day the picture came up on my Facebook Memories/On This Day, and it jogged a memory of something that happened years ago.

Time to go back…

My final year in college I was on the History Journal. It was a two credit class and we put on our own history journal, choosing papers, editing, designing, and putting it all together.

Out of all those in the class, a fellow member, Steve, and I went to speak to the printer. We went and met with the man, but everything with him in regards to me seemed off.

Hmmm…something’s not right

You know that feeling, when someone pays too close attention to you, is too helpful, just too of everything. It’s nothing direct, but ladies, and some men I’m sure, you know what I’m talking about.

He kept offering me drinks, even after I said that I didn’t drink-assuring me that he had nice cold beer and other things.

For the thousandth time

We had to pause for a moment, while Steve took a phone call. His wife had an emergency and he had to go help her-leaving me there and without a ride.

That is not good,

I stepped aside and called my friend Elaine, who agreed to pick me up but she was doing something and wouldn’t be able to come for hours.

Steve hurried out as his wife needed him, and I finished up with the printer. Sitting and having that man stare at me…I don’t know to explain it. It was like this feeling came over me that I needed to leave now, I needed to just go. I needed to get away from this man-who once again tried to offer me beer or wine and was just too much all in my space.

And run fast NOW!

I handed the USB over, concluded the business, and left as soon as I could. The only problem was that now I was stuck in the next city over for a couple of hours, stranded until my friend could come get me. All I could think was I have no clue what to do.

Bit then I remembered, not too much of a walk away was a bookstore. I didn’t know the hours, but there was a restaurant nearby if it was closed that I could wait at.

Luckily the bookstore was open, and I was able to wait there reading until my friend came and got me. She ended up having to stay longer, as her appointment went over, so I had to be there much longer.

Thank goodness for the bookstore!

Later, Steve did text me and apologized that he had to leave. He was worried as he didn’t feel the man’s attentions were right and wanted to make sure I was okay. I completely understood- wife needed you takes precedence over everything else.

When we had to go back, I voiced my concerns, and how I would prefer someone else taking care of it. Our professor was upset about it as she felt I wasn’t being professional and when she asked if the guy had actually done anything, I had to admit no he hadn’t.

However, Steve thankfully backed me up and stressed that it wasn’t just “a feeling” but he had witnessed it too. She then said she would take care of it and I wouldn’t have to go back.

Yay!!!

All I can say is thank goodness for that bookstore. And in case you were wondering, I did buy something when I was there, I just couldn’t resist.

For more book-filled posts, go to Better Not Be Disrespectin’

For more scenes from my every day life, go to A Water-Logged White Christmas

Book Club Picks: The Mother Keeper

So as you all know I started a book club, because you know me and books…

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed. What can I say, I just love books.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. This time the book club member chose:

The Mother Keeper by Paula Scott

So in my last book club book review I had chosen The Far Side of the Sea by Paula Scott and our book club actually got to meet her!

Afterwards, we all started following her on instagram, facebook, etc. One book club member spotted this on facebook and afterwards wanted to read it.

Paula Scott told us that she started writing this years ago and tucked it away, bringing it out later when her daughters wanted a romance as she wouldn’t let them read Twilight (thank goodness).

She tweaked it here and there and rewrote it-this being the finishing product.

Jenny McBride and her husband Kevin, live in Colorado, are celebrating New Year’s Eve and ecstatic for their pregnancy. They can’t wait or the baby, dreaming of all the things they would like to do.

Both are Christians and strong leaders in their church. That night Kevin had a drink, something Jenny does not approve of, and she insists on driving them home in the snow. A car comes careening their way, and crashes into them. Jenny loses her uterus, Kevin his leg, and both their baby.

Nooooooooooooooo

Jenny can’t believe this happened to her, her whole life she has been a good Christian and this is what happens to her? She is hurt, depressed, and angry.

Noooo!

Meanwhile, in the country areas of Tennessee, teenagers Ellie Ryan and her boyfriend are making plans for the future. Jamie is a big football star and will get a scholarship, while Ellie can get one with her amazing grades. However, there is one wrinkle-Ellie is pregnant.

That is not good,

She doesn’t tell her boyfriend, she just breaks up with him. She then heads to the pregnancy crisis center where her sister had gotten an abortion before she took off to California. Ellie hasn’t heard from her since.

At the center, Ellie meets Patsy Klein, a pastor’s wife, who invites her to come stay with her and take part in their church’s Mother Keeper program. The Mother Keeper program, is when a family takes in a pregnant teen and helps take care of her until she has the baby. Sometimes they adopt the baby, help arrange adoptions, or just help them until they can figure out their next step. They pay the food and medical bills through church funding/fundraising.

Ellie stays with Pastor Klein, Patsy, and their three boys-Shawn, Seth, and Stephen. For Ellie, this a dream come true as she is finally part a perfect family.

Shawn is upset when he hears that a pregnant girl from Sutterville-Sucksville-is going to be living with  them. He has enough on his plate with football, a scholarship to Vanderbilt, his beautiful girlfriend Jill who desires him. But meeting Ellie and spending time with her-Shawn realizes that the life he has been living isn’t what he wants at all, but what does he want? Now, he doesn’t know.

Hmmm….I need to rethink my life’s choices

As Shawn and Ellie grow closer, Shawn wants to marry her and raise the baby together. But the assistant pastor contacts his sister Jenny, she having gone through a spiritual battle and grief, is ready to adopt-Ellie’s baby. What will Ellie decide?

Many more decisions will be made as secrets are brought out in the open: a secret affair, true parentage revealed, murder, rape, and a fight over who will adopt Ellie’s baby.

Wow!

This was a a fantastic story and a real page turner. Paula Scott doesn’t pull way from anything, but hits the truth hard.

What?

It’s funny because it certain characters reminded me of ones from Desperate Pastor Wives and The MasterpieceThat was completely unplanned by us. In DPW, Jennifer Shores too has lost a baby, and becomes angry with God; having to go through her journey, getting close to God, and figuring what is next in the future. In The Masterpiece, Grace Moore is kept by a family until she has her child, and goes through a similar battle over who will adopt her child, along with having family issues she has to work through.

It was a fantastic book, and I strongly recommend it.

For more Book Club Picks, go to Book Club Picks: Far Side of the Sea

For more by Paula Scott, go to Book Club Picks: Until the Day Breaks

For more Christian novels, go to Book Club Picks: Desperate Pastors’ Wives