Book Club Picks: The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II

So I have been trying to catch up with my book club book reviews, and I am almost there. Just three more (including this one) and I am back on track.

Alright!

So every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. We’ve been reading a lot of fiction books, so one of the members decided to choose a non-fiction book they had found at the library.

The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan

During World War II, Oak Ridge, Tennessee; was home to over 75,00 people, used more electricity than New York City, and was shrouded in mystery.

What?

What was happening there? Why was it secret? Not even the workers knew what they were doing or “making”, as no product even seemed to come out.

Help me! I’m confused!

Women from all over the country came fresh out of high school, right out of college, when they had nothing, as a last resort, etc. These women enjoyed making their own money, living on their own, etc.

The book chronicles different women: races, to areas of the country, ages, etc; and gives each one’s story from when they start at Oak Ridge to when they close the city down.

Hmm…

Between the stories of the women there are the classified documents of the government and it shows the other side of the scientists who actually knew what was going on.

It turned out that all these men and women in Oak Ridge were helping build the atomic bomb, although none of them even knew it.

I didn’t really care for this book, and neither did my fellow book club members.

We all loved the parts about the women and their life stories. It was really interesting how they built this community, friendships, were willing to leave everything behind to work at Oak Ridge, etc.

One of the best parts was when one of the workers was dating a military man. She had to wait in line to buy everything, and because there was so many people and only so many supplies, if you didn’t get there early enough then you got nothing.

Her boyfriend used to get her soap and other important toiletries- something she found incredibly romantic as it saved her so much time. I thought it was super romantic as well!

*swoon*

Or the one woman who’s boyfriend kept asking her to marry him, but she would say no as she didn’t want to get married. He stopped asking her, and it upset her, so she told him to ask her one more time. It was really cute.

And there was another story about an African-American woman who used to have the guards bully her when she went to visit her husband (men and women lived in separate areas). One day she ran into some workers getting rid of some extra metal-something that was perfect to be a biscuit tin. After that she would make biscuits for her husband and give some to the guard-winning him over with her excellent cooking.

However, what we didn’t like was all the technical stuff about the atomic bomb. The way it kept switching back and forth was confusing and brought you out of the women’s stories.

That part was really boring as well.

It really brought the book down and I was the only one who was able to power through it.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: A Wrinkle in Time

For more non-fiction books, go to Book Club Picks: Sandcastle Kings

For more on atomic weapons, go to A Giant Metal Man: The Iron Giant (1995)

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Book Club Picks: A Wrinkle in Time

So I have fallen waaaay behind with my posts, but as you know I started a book club last year:

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. It was my turn to pick again and after doing a mystery in The Secret of Chimneys and an altered classic/romance in The Darcy MonologuesI wanted to do something different. So I decided on a fantasy/science fiction and what better than my favorite book as a kid that is going to be a movie soon:

A Wrinkle in Time (The Time Quartet #1) by Madeleine L’Engle

I loved this book so much as a kid. I used to go to the library and check it out again and again and again. After constantly doing that, my mom finally bought me the book so I had my own. It came in a set with the remaining three books-A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and Many Waters.

This is the book that started the whole time quartet series. In this book the Murry family has moved to New England. Many people are wary of them as both Mr. and Mrs. Murry are scientists. Mr. Murry is often called upon to go to Washington D.C for the President or Pentagon. He left for a trip about a year ago, and has yet to return. Many think he abandoned the family, but his wife and children have faith that he will return. Meg is the oldest, she wears glasses and braces and thinks herself unattractive.

She has a lot of problems making friends as she has a temper,

What???!!!

she also has issues in school as the math is too far below her.

After Meg are the twins, Alexander (Sandy) and Dionysus (Dennys). Both the twins excel in sports, school, and friendship. Last is Charles Wallace, only five years old and a genius. He tries to hide it, but still can’t pass off being “normal.”

One dark and stormy night; three women come in with the wind and set Meg, Charles Wallace, and a popular boy from school, Calvin O’Keefe on quite the adventure. Mrs. Which, Mrs. Who, and Mrs,Whatsit tells the trio that they need them in order to save Mr. Murry who is caught in the 5th dimension.

Help me! I’m confused!

This adventure takes them on a ride through psychics, time travel, tessering, and other planets.

The best characters in this are Meg and Calvin. Besides being intelligent, Calvin is also caring and compassionate. When Meg and Charles become his friend, his loyalty and care with protecting them knows very little bounds. And when Meg has problems controlling her temper; Calvin is able to help her realign her feelings and help her express kindness toward others.

*swoon*

Then we have Meg, oh my gosh we are just the same. Meg has a hard time connecting with people her own age as in many ways she is older, younger, and the same. She has a bad temper, is stubborn, willful, loyal, caring, compassionate, and will defend her friends/family until the end.

Amazing!

One of the best things of this book is two messages- one being, be happy in who you are. Meg is always trying to change herself, but her faults and personality are the things that can help them in this battle. She was designed that way, even though she might not like herself-she was needed to be herself in order to save everyone.

And that love can defeat everything. Love, real powerful Love.

In fact, Meg actually embodies all three of those-faith, hope, love-and uses them to battle the black thing.

It is a fantastic book that has been such a big part of my life!

And you should definitely check it out!

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: A Light in the Window

For more Madeleine L’Engle, go to Let It Go

For more on A Wrinkle in Time, go to The Wearing of the Green: 17 More Irish Heroes

For more C.S. Lewis quotes, go to You Know You Really Love Tea When…

For more bible verses, go to Book Club Picks: A Voice in the Wind

You Know Me So Well

So Christmas has come and gone:

And I don’t know about you all, but I got just what I wanted:

Yes! You know how I love tea!!!

And this!

Sweet!! You know me, Jane is the best-anywhere and anytime

And then the cherry on top!

That’s awesome

So I had one fantastic Christmas! I hope you all did as well!

For more on tea, go to You Know You Really Love Tea When…

For more on Jane Austen, go to All I Want for Christmas

For more Back to the Future, go to With a Little Luck of the Irish: 17 More Irish Heroes

All I Want for Christmas

Hmm…what do I want for Christmas?

After all what makes the best gift?

I hope you all get everything you desire under the tree

Merry Christmas!

For more Christmas posts, go to Trek the Halls with Bones and Scotty

For more book-filled posts, go to Magic in Books

Book Club Picks: A Light in the Window

So I have fallen waaaay behind with my posts, but as you know I started a book club this year:

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. Back in May, one member choose the first book in The Mitford Years series, so when it was their turn to pick they decided on us reading the second book in the series.

A Light in the Window (The Mitford Years #2) by Jan Karon

This book is set in the fictional town of Mitford, North Carolina. The last book centered around the Vicar, Father Tim as he is contemplating at age 60 if he should continue or retire. In that year he faces all kinds of changes from a dog adopting him, taking in a child, jewel thieves, a fake antiquities ring, health changes, a new neighbor/love interest, all kinds of secrets being revealed, and more. This town and Father Tim will never be the same.

At the end of the first book he and Cynthia (his neighbor) have become boyfriend and girlfriend. This is a huge step for Father Tim as this is his first relationship in forty years.

While he loves Cynthia, he finds himself unsure about the relationship, and draws into himself pulling away from her.

Cynthia, understandingly gets upset:

And now Father Tim has a choice to fight for her or let her go.

Meanwhile, a recently widowed parishioner has set her sights on Father Tim, not caring he’s in a relationship. She starts cooking him up his favorite dishes in the hope of capturing him.

Father Tim had just returned from a trip to Ireland and discovers that one of his cousins has followed him home and wants to stay with him while she works on her book. However, something about her is not right as she spends all her time in her room, her dishes disappear, she eats everything, she never leaves her room, etc and more.

Something is not right.

So I loved the first book

But this one, not as much. I mean it has some real good parts, funny moments, and things that I really enjoyed, but it was missing all the fun characters and their interactions from the first one.

The other thing I didn’t like was how a big part was done in letters between Cynthia and Father Tim as she has to go to New York for months to work on her book. While I like epistolary novels, this made me feel like a voyeur reading such personal mail. I was the only one who didn’t like it, as the other book club members loved it. What can I say:

So on a whole, the book was good-but I just felt it paled in comparison to the first one. It was just missing a little spark.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: A Voice in the Wind

For more on The Mitford Years, go to Book Club Picks: At Home in Mitford

Is Christine the Ultimate Femme Fatale?

As this is Noir November #Noirvember, I thought it was no better time to talk about one of the top classic femme fatale.

I hate Christine, I think she was a horrid little urgh.

wordICan't say Toy Story

And I don’t use that lightly. First we see her all upset at Raul for being rude and condemning Erik

“Why do you condemn a man who you have never seen, whom no one knows about and whom you yourself know nothing?” (pg. 104)

But then she’s like I’m so scared of him. Aaah! She makes him sound evil, even though the story is hardly anything.

She heard this wonderful voice and begs him to teach her.

“From that time onward, the voice and I became great friends.” (pg. 116)

They spend years together as the phantom puts his all into teaching her and helping her. Then one day Christine spots Raoul and tells the phantom all about seeing him. And the voice disappears, Christine is anxious and scared. She knows she is nothing without him, she will shrivel up into a has-been.

The next day the Phantom comes and tells her he has to leave her.

“The voice was there, spoke to me with great sadness and told me plainly that, if I must bestow my heart on earth, there was nothing for the voice to do but go back to heaven.” (pg. 117)

You see, no threats. No harsh words. The Phantom would have simply backed off if she loved another. He would be heartbroken, but that would be the end of it. Except…

“I swore to the voice that you were no more than a brother to me nor ever would be and that my heart was incapable of any earthly love.” (pg. 117)

You see that!!!! You see that!!!

What???!!!

She purposely leads on the Phantom because she just wants to use him. She doesn’t love him, she doesn’t care for him, as she has stated before:

“[to Raoul] And that, dear, first revealed to me that I loved you.”

She knew, but she had a good thing and didn’t want to see it disappear. Now she tells Raoul that she “lied only because she thought she had no chance with Raoul.” But is that even the truth? She already admitted to playing the Phantom, she’s probably playing Raoul too. He’s rich and interested, and now she’s going to play the little helpless victim to catch him.

you're evil

So you know what, I never feel sorry for her. She created this whole mess as she only cared about herself and not what her false declarations did to people. She almost kills hundreds because of her selfishness. I feel bad for the Phantom. Poor guy, who is completely crushed by her. He picked the wrong woman.

Poor guy

And she goes on about being captured by a madman and held prisoner, BUT he treats her well. He respects her as a thing of beauty and doesn’t harm her or touch her. And when she is upset and wants to leave?

“And, when I stood up, Raoul, and told him that I could only despise him if he did not, then and there, give me my liberty…he offered it…” (pg. 125)

See he isn’t a crazy killer or psychotic (yet). He loves her and respects her wishes. She’s the viper, she’s evil as she chooses to stay there.

“For he sang. And I listened…and stayed!” (pg. 125)

Seriously?

So she falls asleep and then wakes up in a whole different room, properly freaked. BUT then spots a note left to her by the Phantom.

“My dear Christine, you need have no concern as to your fate. You have no better nor more respectful friend in the world than myself.” (pg. 126)

Wow

He just let her alone, as he sees her as the kindest and most divine woman; respecting her. He also purchases tons of things for her in order to make the place truly home.

But Christine is not happy. She wants out. She is angry with the Phantom, even though she is packed with beautiful gifts. All she wants is to see his face as “no honest man would wear a mask.” But that is the one place Erik won’t give.

Then Erik mentions how most of her time with him will be musical practice. She is angry as he wants her to stay five days, then he will let her go again as she will either love him (hope) or pity him. But Christine is now upset that he won’t let her go now, but hey he offered you before.

Seriously

The real issue Christine has with the Phantom is his skull-like face. This is what breaks her and makes her horrified and disgusted.She can’t live well enough alone, and asks him to play for her, plotting her deception. When he is too worked up in the music she snatches the mask off. 

She tells Raoul this as each visit “increased her horror.”

Now what’s really interesting is after Christine has told her tale, Raoul asks her:

“You are frightened…but do you love me? If Erik were good-looking, would you love me, Christine?” (pg. 132)

Hmm…

And what does Christine say? Does she say NEVER, I don’t love him I LOVE YOU? No. Does she say that Erik is a horrible person, and she could never love him? No. Now what does she say?

“She rose in her turn, and put her two trembling arms round the young man’s neck and said: ‘Oh my betrothed of a day, if I did not love you, I would not give you my lips! Take them, for the first time and the last.” (pg. 132)

You see that!!! You see that!!! SHE NEVER ANSWERS THE QUESTION!!!! And you know why???!!! Because the answer is NO! She don’t love you Raoul, she’s using you just as she used Erik. She could have easily answered she loved you, but instead she deflected the question and gave you a kiss. I hate when people do that, urgh!

Let me tell you something, if you ever are having a serious and deep conversation with someone and they deflect you with a kiss, hug, sex, whatever, you need to get out of that relationship because they are not serious about you. Should’ve seen it Raoul, except you were to busy focusing on that kiss that you missed it.

Meanwhile, Christine, the little actress starts playing Erik to the areas he has been insecure. She tells him that he is genius, his music causes her to forget his looks. She even burns his mask to symbolize that she is “above” such things. In reality she is playing him  from every angle, earning his trust so that he is willing to believe she actually loves him and won’t harm him. Letting her go.

Christine acts as if he is a true monster, but the Phantom has a compassionate heart. She asks if she can pretend to “be engaged”, playacting, with Raoul and the Phantom agrees.

“He said, ‘I trust you, Christine. M. de Chagny [Raoul] is in love with you and going abraod. Before he goes, I want him to be as happy as I am.” (pg. 134)

How can someone be unfeeling and a loser when they consider what their arch rival’s is feeling?

See Erik isn’t the monster, Christine is! She just goes and destroys two men’s lives-never thinking about them or how it affect them; all she cares is about her self.

Yeah, that’s why I hate Christine Daaé.

For more on The Phantom of the Opera, go to President of the “I Don’t Like Raoul Fanclub”

For more on Christine Daaé, go to Le Fantôme de l’Opéra

For more femme fatales, go to That Girl is Poison

Book Club Picks: A Voice in the Wind

So with everything that happened in July and with GISHWHES, I realized I totally forgot to post the last book we read for Book Club.

Just in case for anyone new, I started a book club with three other people. There is no theme or restrictions, just every month a different person has a turn to pick a book, we read it for the month, and afterwards meet to talk about it. Fun for everyone.

Last month’s pick was:

A Voice in the Wind (Mark of the Lion #1) by Francine Rivers

I first started reading Francine Rivers’ novels when a friend recommended Redeeming Love (a fantastic book that I strongly recommend). Afterwards, I started reading as many of her books as I could get a copy of. This one I put on my to-read list like five years ago and forgot all about it. I mean you know about to-read lists.

So when my friend brought it out as a suggestion, I was all for it.

That’s what I want

The story actually follows four main characters and how their lives intersect with each other, the decisions they make, and how they grow or regress as characters.

Character One: Hadassah

Hadassah is living in a time where Rome is in complete control and being Jewish or Christian can mean death. Unfortunately for Hadassah, she is both.

Yes, her parents were both Jewish but her father converted to Christianity when Jesus raised him from the dead (Luke 7:11-17). Her married Hadassah’s mother (who also converted to Christianity) and the two raised their three children as Christians.

Their lives have gone incredibly downhill as Rome marches on Jerusalem destroying it, with all of Hadassah’s family being murdered.  Hadassah finds herself unsure how she will continue on with her weak faith and uncertain future. Will she be able to trust God through it all?

Hadassah is saved from being killed; manages to survive the march to Rome, gets through a lice-filled boat, barely is maneuvered from becoming a temple prostitute, and is bought by a Jewish slave for his master, going into the powerful Valerian family. There she is given to serve the selfish, young, and beautiful Julia Valerian. Hadassah faces many ups and downs trying to live her Christian faith, set an example to others; while trying to walk the thin line that separates her from being thrown to the lions as a pre-show for the gladiatorial games.

She finds herself becoming friends with Julia’s older brother Marcus, praying hard for him and his family. But as her connection to Marcus grows stronger:

She finds herself unsure what path to take. Will Hadassah be able to serve God and receive a happy ending? Or will she cross that line and enter temptation? Or worse, death?

Character Two: Atretes

Atretes is a prince from Germany known for his wildness, strength, courage, and ability. After the death of his father he finds himself being handed the kingship and given a prophecy: a dark haired woman as his lover, being known throughout Rome, he will triumph over his foes, and being able to free his people from slavery.

That’s the kind of prophecy I’m talking about.

However, in the next battle skirmish, Atretes is captured by Roman soldiers. He tried hard to be killed in battle, but they decide to keep him and train him to become a gladiator.

At first he refuses to play along, but eventually becomes the star fighter as he discovers the only way to win his freedom is to follow along.

He achieves, money, fame, etc.; but still remains a slave and not given real freedom. His life changes when he meets Julia Valerian. She comes to him willingly, paying heavily to be with him. She appears to be everything foreseen by his mother and he begins to fall for her, and changes his perspective of “the game” as he fights for money, freedom, and the ability to marry the person he loves.

But will Atretes fullfill his prophecies of the woman he loves, overpower Rome, and free his people? Or will he discover that Rome doesn’t fight fair and that he will never truly be free from its grasp?

Hmm…

Character Three: Marcus Valerian

Meh.

Marcus Valerian grew up in a time of strife that has settles into prosperity and peace. His only hobbies in life are pursuing whatever pleases him: mostly making money and winning women. However, Marcus quickly becomes bored with this lifestyle and is always pursuing making more money and a harder challenge.

He is constantly going to the gladiator games, but becomes bored with those as well in life.

His father tries to instill a moral code in him, but Marcus refuses to listen to anything his father says as he feels that his father is “too old” and “behind the times”. He thinks his way is the best and his lifestyle-something he ends up instilling in his younger, naive, and impressionable sister.

Seriously, parents.

But when Hadassah enters the house she starts a ripple effect of a change of atmosphere. Everything about her and her beliefs challenges his lifestyle and the choices he is making in life.

Will Marcus find something real to fill his life? Will he ever be happy? Or will the choices he has made come back to bite him?

Hmm…

Character Four: Julia Valerian

Julia is the Marcus’ younger sister and has been sheltered her whole life and given every whim. In an effort to reshape her character and give her more morals, her parents give her Hadassah to be her servant; hoping that Hadassah’s kind and gentle spirit will rub off on Julia.

Hadassah

But all Julia cares about is being beautiful, idolizing her brother Marcus and his values, and seeks to become the most sough after gal in Rome. She ends up trusting women who are bad influences that like to manipulate her, not listening to any of the advice her parents try to give her.

She is married off to a kind man, but is too selfish and self-centered to appreciate him. Instead she sets her eyes on a handsome gladiator she sees training, Atretes. Later her foolish and heedless behavior causes the death of her husband, and she and Hadassah are sent back to her parent’s house.

Through it all Hadassah loves and cares for Julia as a sister, even when Julia is rude, crude, overbearing, etc.

Once again Julia chooses friends who don’t have her best interest at heart and are using her. She also marries a handsome, but abusive man. After she grows tired of being treated so cruelly she makes a decision that leads her down a dark path. As Julia continues to make bad decisions and hurt those around her, will Hadassah continue to care and help her? Will Julia turn from her dark choices? Will she have a happy ending? Or will she continue on her trail of destruction?

Hmm…

So what did I think of it?

I thought it was amazing! I started reading and I couldn’t stop:

And if that wasn’t enough, when I read the ending I was in SHOCK!!!

I quickly ran to get the sequel (literally ran)

The book was phenomenal. From Hadassah’s character:

To Marcus’ growth of character:

And all the twists and turns the novel took. You never knew what was going to happen next.

Wow

I definitely recommend it.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: The Darcy Monologues

For more Christian fiction, go to The Austen Series: Reason and Romance

For more bible verses, go to Should We Pity Miss Bates or Strive to Be Her?

Period Days are Reading Days

Ugh, I’m on my period:

No joke this enters my mind every month

And we women all know what that feels like:

Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

Being on your period is no fun at all, you don’t want to do anything.

Everything hurts, you hate everything, feel bad, etc. All you want to do is check out from life.

So the best thing to do is grab your blanket, ice cream:

Hot tea:

And a good book to read. After all:

Yep, there is no better way to ride out the storm of pain than with a good book

Period days are reading days.

For more period stories, go to Something’s Scratching at the Window

For more book posts, go to Hot Humid Days are Reading Days

For more Jane Smiley quotes, go to A Quest of Swords and Wizards: The Crown Conspiracy