When Trouble Strikes, Head to the Library: 13 More of the Best Fictional Libraries

So if you’ve been following me, you are 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 said before, I love libraries!

But then I started noticing more and more fictional libraries and of course had to do a second post on 13 more amazing fictional libraries.

Which brings us to today and another 13 of the best fictional libraries.

13) Gary’s Library from SpongeBob SquarePants “Sleepy Time Episode”

SpongeBob is dreaming about driving when Mrs. Puff takes away his license and he finds himself ejected from his dream. SpongeBob sees his sleeping form, but decides to not renter his mind but instead visit all his friend’s dreams with all the usual SpongeBob shenanigans.

Why the library is awesome!: When SpongeBob enters Gary’s dream he finds Gary in an enormous library. I don’t know what kind of books a snail would read but this dream library of Gary’s is highly impressive. It brings to mind the Dream Library in the The Sandman Chronicles. It definitely would have some interesting works.

For more on SpongeBob SquarePants, go to The Hash-Slinging Slasher: Graveyard Shift, Spongebob Squarepants (2002)

12) University Library in An Extremely Goofy Movie

Goofy loses his son (to college) and his job all within the same timeframe. He know needs to finish his degree in order to find a new career and decides to go to the same university as his son. There he gets involved in extreme sports (it was the ’90s everything was xtreme), and more. Can he survive the school year? Or will he make a goof of this as well.

Why the library is awesome!: While this library is an average college library, the librarian makes this seem like a fun place to be as she is really “groovy”. Plus, Goofy has probably made more than one mess that staff had to clean up so you know everything is where it should be as it has just been reshelved.

11) Milderhurst Castle Library in The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

In The Distant Hours, a mother and daughter are brought together over a long awaited letter. Edie has always been obsessed with the Gothic novel The Mud Man, and when she is driving out to speak to an author in Kent, she passes Milderhurst Castle, where the author of The Mud Man used to reside. It turns out that Edie has a deeper connection to The Mud Man as she discovers her mother used to reside their during WWII. Edie is asked to write a biography on the family, and while in this Poe-vain gothic house she discovers secrets of The Mud Man and her family.

Why the library is awesome!: This library is extremely old and no longer well taken care of, but it still sounds amazing and I can imagine it was incredible when the family took care of it.

“Shelves spanned all four walls, floor to ceiling…they were lined with very old books, the sort with marbled endpapers, gold-dipped edges, and black cloth binding.

It sounds like it used to be a wonderful place to spend your days.

For more on The Distant Hours, go Catherine Morland’s Reading List: The Distant Hours

10) The Abbey of Saint Anne de Beaupré Library in Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

In Outlander, Claire has recently reunited with her husband Frank Randall after being separated during WWII. The two decide to celebrate with a honeymoon to Scotland, where Frank’s ancestors spent some considerable time. Frank gives all his attention to researching his family tree and Claire finds other ways to occupy her time. She decides to visit this magical henge to get a closer look at some flowers growing there (she’s an amateur botanist) and finds herself transported to mid-18th century Scotland. She is luckily picked up by some friendly Scots, one of which is the amazing Jamie Fraser, and tries to find a way to survive the past long enough to come back to the future.

Why the library is awesome!: One of my favorite parts of this book is when they visit the Monks, as even though a lot of terrible things have happened for them to go there, the Monks are some of the most well written characters in the novel. Jamie is horribly traumatized and injured after being locked in prison and they go to the monastery for physical, emotional, and soul healing. There Claire finds herself at a loss of what to do and spends a lot of time in the beautiful Abbey library. Monks had some of the best and most oldest/amazing books in all history. This one is sure to have countless treasures.

For more Outlander, go to Blueberry Yogurt Oat Scones

9) The Winds Abbey Library in The Crown Conspiracy by Michael J. Sullivan

Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melbourn are thieves for hire. One day they are hired to steal a sword, and when they go to retrieve it; they find themselves as scapegoats for the the murder of the King! Alric, the soon to be crowned king, locks them up, and the two are sentenced to be executed. Unbeknownst to Alric, his sister Arista (sorcerer in training), frees them and hires them to take her brother and free a long ago imprisoned wizard. They set out on the quest, along with attempting to discover who is behind this plot to destroy the kingdom.

Why the library is awesome!: At this point in the book the Abbey has been destroyed but Myron, the librarian and monk, describes what was a cheery and lovely place full of books. While this part of the book is very sad, Myron later helps recreate the library to be exactly how it was before and rewrites all the books, scrolls, maps, etc from memory (it’s photographic). I rank this higher than the other monk’s library as while even though this one was destroyed (and later recreated), Myron the Librarian is such a delight that I would rather spend my time here a little bit more than the one in Outlander, although by a very small margin.

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

8) Gyeoroo Publishing Company Library from Romance is a Bonus Book

Kang Dan-i and Cha Eun-ho have been friends since they were little. Once Dan-i was a powerhouse in the corporate world, but left her job to focus on family when she married. Now divorced, Dan-i is really struggling to reenter the workforce and finds it hard with her high qualifications and large absence to find anyone to hire her. She ends up lying on her resume to get an entry level position at Gyeoroo Publishing Company, the business that Eun-ho owns part of. Eun-ho has been in love with Dan-i since he was a child and agrees to keep her secret, while at the same time trying to have her see him as more than just a friend.

Why the library is awesome!: So the actual face of the building used for the publishing company is a real library which makes this even cooler. In the series the publishing company has a massive library with both work related items; along with all the works the company has published. When I watched this I so wanted to work there, spend time in that library, and I fell for the other head of the company; a sweet widower with kids-just my type.

7) Mr. Bennet’s Library in Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice is about a mother, Mrs. Bennet, wanting to marry off her daughters as quickly as possible, as with their father’s death they will have very little. Two men move to their community that Mrs. Bennet is intent on harpooning, no matter what. One, Mr. Bingley, falls for the elder daughter, Jane, while the other man, Mr. Darcy, is overheard insulting the second daughter, Elizabeth, by Elizabeth herself. (Ouch!) Elizabeth is wounded and when she hears a tale about how horrible Mr. Darcy is from a handsome charming man, she readily believes it. She later discovers there is more to both these men than meets the eye; as the story deals with the concepts of pride and prejudice, first impressions, whether you should be overt in how you feel or play it close to the heart, etc.

Why the library is awesome!: I don’t rank this library higher even though I’m sure it is a really nice library, as Mr. Bennet isn’t one to share his space with anyone else or allow someone other than him to spend great amounts of time there. This library looks cozy and a great place to your day, something that I know Mr. Bennet does. And as often as he is in his library, hiding out, I’m sure it is the most comfortable room in the house.

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Can The Shop Around the Corner Be Considered A Pride and Prejudice Adaption?

6) Count Dracula’s Library in Horror of Dracula

In Horror of Dracula, Jonathan Harker goes to Count Dracula’s to make enough money to marry his fiancé, but it turns out that isn’t the whole story. He is there under false pretenses his real mission is to slay Dracula. Dracula overcomes him and sets off for England to steal Jonathan’s bride-to-be, Lucy. It’s up to Van Helsing, Lucy’s brother Arthur, and Arthur’s wife Mina to destroy Dracula before he can kill again.

Why the library is awesome!: This library is beautiful, full of so many books, and has secret passageways. I would love to have this library as not only is it functional but gothic, spooky, and in a castle.

For more on Horror of Dracula go to, Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

5) Bruce Wayne’s Library in Batman (1989)

The city of Gotham is being harassed by a psychopath, the Joker, who is poisoning makeup, cleaners, and other everyday items. Good thing Gotham has someone watching over them, billionaire playboy turned superhero detective Bruce Wayne/Batman.

Why the library is awesome!: It’s a beautiful place to be with it’s gorgeous furniture that I want to have in my home, and shelves full of books. Of course any library that has multiple levels is a treasure, (I spot a staircase in the back). It looks like a wonderful place to read, relax, study, and work out any problems that present themselves. It also has priceless antiquities and secret passages.

For more Batman (1989), go to What Are You? I’m Batman!: Batman (1989)

4) Norland Park in Sense and Sensibility

In Sense and Sensibility, the Dashwood girls lose their home when their father dies and the estate is entailed to their brother and his wife, (both of which do nothing to help them), with the ladies moving to stay in a distant family member’s cottage. Elinor is the eldest Dashwood girl and the sensible logical one. Her younger sister Marianne, is the middle daughter and the passionate one who always shares her feelings. Both sisters go on to discover that while each believe they knows the best way to present themselves, they both have a lot to learn.

Why the library is awesome!: Like most important and old houses, there are a ton of books that have been collected through the years. Not only does it hold an impressive amount of volumes, it also looks light and airy and an extremely comfortable place to while away the hours. The youngest Dashwood sister, Margaret, enjoys spending her time there looking at the atlas or other books. I know if I lived there, I would spend all my time there.

For more Sense and Sensibility, go to Incense and Sensibility

3) Ainsoft Company Library in Strong Girl Bong Soon

Strong Woman Bong Soon is the best Korean drama ever and I highly recommend it for Jane Austen fans. It is the story of a girl, Bong Soon, who’s family has a curse/gift that all women will have super strength, but if used for evil it will be taken away. All Bong Soon has ever wanted was to create a video game based on her powers, but ends up getting caught up in stopping gangsters from trying to take over the neighborhood, a serial kidnapper after women to be his seven brides, and becoming the bodyguard to the rich owner of a video game company that is being threatened. It has mystery, a superhero, comedy, drama, etc-everything you could ever want.

Why the library is awesome!: The Ainsoft company library has information on work along with other novels for staff to peruse on breaks. This library is as awesome as it is huge. I actually ranked this higher than I had it originally as Bong Soon and Mr. Ahn have an amazingly cute date here. I wish I could visit it, and with Mr. Ahn. *sigh* Oh well, I just have to be content with rewatching it.

For more on Strong Woman Bong Soon, go Super Power Girl, Blackmail, Gangsters, and a Serial Kidnapper: Strong Woman Bong Soon (2017)

2) Ivy’s Library in the Night Bound Choices Game

In the game Night Bound, you are traveling to New Orleans for Mardi Gras with your friends and end up getting attacked by a supernatural being. You are saved by a Nighthunter, hunter of the supernatural, who was hired by people unknown to keep you safe. As you continue through the story, trying to hunt down what is after you, you make friends and have the opportunity to choose parts of the story (skill sets, weapons, clothes, your love interest, etc.). You discover that while you thought you were just a normal human, there is more to you than meets the eye.

Why the library is awesome!: So Ivy’s library is full of supernatural books and items to help battle creatures, break curses, create spells. Awesome, right?! Imagine what knowledge lies in it! To me it seems like a mix between Giles library in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Burkhardt collection in Grimm.

For more from Choices, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 12, In Sickness and In Health

1) Lady Emily Ashton’s Multiple Libraries in And Only to Decieve by Tasha Alexander

Lady Emily Ashton married Phillip Ashton to free herself from her mother’s control and because she was nice (as a member of high society that was the most she thought she could ever hope for). Not long after their marriage he died in a hunting accident. A year and a half later troubling things start happening and Lady Emily starts to wonder, was her husband death an accident…or was it murder? She starts investigating, but will she survive this quest? Or find herself the next victim?

Why the library is awesome!: Lady Emily won the top ranking as she has multiple libraries; one in her London townhouse, one in her Paris house, one at her English country manor, and one in her villa in Greece. Each one is full of all kinds of works; along with Roman and Greek antiquities, priceless artworks, beautiful statuary, etc. Can you even imagine? I mean one library would be incredible, but to own four? Heaven! Plus one of the libraries houses a first edition of Pride and Prejudice.

For more on And Only to Deceive and Lady Emily, go to Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers: And Only to Deceive

Agree? Disagree? Think I’m missing one? Comment below!

For the original post (libraries 1-13), go to Heaven on Earth: 13 of the Best Fictional Libraries

For the second post (libraries 14-26), go to Happiness is Having a Library Card: Another 13 of the Best Fictional Libraries

How the Queen Found the Perfect Cup of Tea

So usually I only review Jane Austen books, or ones related to it (Catherine Morland’s Reading List  or Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers for example). But I saw this picture book in the library and thought it was too cute not to share.

And at cookies!

So the story starts with a grumpy queen who hates her cup of tea and sets off to find the perfect cup of tea.

She starts off in Japan meeting a little girl named Noriko, cuddles some kittens, and learns how to make Matcha tea.

Then to India where she meets Sunil and they play ball and make Chai Tea.

After that she journeys onto Turkey where she meets Rana, dances, and makes Turkish tea.

After all her adventures, she heads home where she makes a cup of English tea and thinks.

She then decides to hold a tea party and invites her new friends-having learned that true happiness comes from having someone to share a cup of tea with.

It is such an adorable book and introduces children to fun, friendship, and four different ways of making tea.

And eat scones!

For more tea posts, go to Cranberry, Brie, and Rosemary Bites

For more children’s books, go to Little Literary Classics Mansfield Park Cloth Book

For more on Matcha tea, go to Blueberry Matcha Smoothie

For more on Chai tea, go to I Won the Kumi Crochet and Tea India Giveaway

I Won the BookNookMajorieMaeShop Giveaway

So I am behind in quite a few things I’ve been meaning to post on…

From Clueless

I have a list but I just get distracted. For instance, last year BookNookMajorieMaeShop ran this giveaway last year and I haven’t posted on it yet.

Oh well…

So as you know, when I see giveaways-I just can’t resist.

As I always say:

“Free is always good unless it’s diseases.”

Anytime I see a giveaway I have to enter it. And as I loooove The Wizard of Oz, I just had to have it.

I ended up winning the fourth bookmark in the post. I thought this was cute, and of course as I upcycle items, I loved that this Wizard of Oz was getting a second life.

And of course I had to give it a little photo shoot:

 

 

This was adorable and I’m definitely eyeing a few things in her store. If interested, go check out her store.

For more giveaway reviews, go to I Won the Kumi Crochet and Tea India Giveaway

For more on The Wizard of Oz, go to Literary Tea Parties

For more bookish posts, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: Secrets of the Heart

I Won the Cederberg Tea Giveaway + Book Club Picks: The Insanity of God

So a while back Cederberg Tea Company was doing a giveaway-you know me and free, I just can’t resist.

As I always say:

“Free is always good unless it is diseases.”

Anytime I see a giveaway I have to enter it.

So I commented I wanted Chai tea (as my entry) and won this package of Classic Red, Green Rooibos, Rooibos + Bourbon Vanilla, Rooibos + Chai, and Rooibos + Ginger.

Now I didn’t pay close attention when I entered the giveaway and didn’t realize it contained Rooibos in it. I avoid Rooibos after I had the one by Tea Forté, and it did not agree with me. I resolved to not drink any again, until I saw that this was Rooibos.

That’s not good.

Well I won it and needed to review it, so I decided to stop wasting time and start drinking some tea.

I drank some…and loved it!

The other one I had must have had something wrong with it or something, because these were fantastic. I expected to like the Chai, but was just blown away by the Rooibos + Bourbon Vanilla. I drank it and drank it, until I realized I only had one teabag left.

I mean you know how I feel about Earl Grey Tea:

But I was just drinking Rooibos + Bourbon Vanilla, at least until it was all gone.

The others were good too, but that one was the best!

Delicious!!!! I know I will definitely be ordering from them in the future.

For more giveaway posts, go to I Won the Madsen Creations Giveaway

For more tea posts, go to Iced Blackberry Infused Earl Grey Tea

So a few years back I was given a collection of five teas, A World of Teas. As I was about to try them out, I started thinking, which books would best suit the teas? After all nothing goes together better than a good book and a delicious tea.

And eat scones!

Since then I try my best to repeat it whenever I try out new teas. 🙂 As this is Chai teas and Rooibos, I tried to do my best to connect it with books that are set in Africa or India.

Tea #1: Classic Red

This Classic Red was a wonderful tea. It had everything you wanted in it and I enjoyed it so much I finished it before I realized it-picking up the cup to drink some more and finding it empty.

You can tell at first sip why it is a “classic”.

Around the World in 80 Days is one of my favorite books and an amazing classic. It is the story of mysterious, wealthy Phileas Fogg being bet to travel around the world in 80 days. It was to be an interesting challenge-made more so when he is mistaken to be a bank robber and followed by a detective; along with having some people try to sabotage him from winning. It has action, adventure, romance-everything you could want and more! It is a real page turner and keeps you on the edge of your seat to see if Phileas is going to make it or not!

One of my favorite parts is when they go to India and the group rescue Aouda, an Indian princess, from her dead husband’s evil relatives trying to sacrifice her so they can inherit everything. This is a great scene because in it we see Phileas change from his “mechanical” way of being (everything planned and thought out) as he steps out to help, becoming a “classic” hero. I love him and Aouda together-you know me and biracial relationships. A great book and great tea.

For more on Around the World in 80 Days, go to Happiness is Having a Library Card: Another 13 of the Best Fictional Libraries

Tea #2: Green Rooibos

This tea was exactly how I expected green tea to taste, no surprises-but I mean that in a good way. It’s nice to have something and know you are going to get exactly what you want to get.

This tea made me think of Death on the Nile. Death on the Nile isn’t my favorite Agatha Christie novel as to me there wasn’t any big surprises or truly innovative or amazing characters (except Cornelia Ruth Robson). But like this tea, sometimes you want the predictable, to get exactly as you expect.

The story is of Linnet, a wealthy woman, who marries her best friend’s boyfriend, Simon Doyle. For their honeymoon they go on a trip through the Nile, and of course run into Hercule Poirot (he never gets a vacation). He sees the former best friend, Jacqueline, threaten them and they ask Poirot for help. He declines, but warns Jacqueline to stop or else she will open herself to evil. She refuses and follows the Doyles on their boat trip on the Nile, joined by 11 other interesting characters. Linnet is found dead (of course), and everything points to the two characters who could not have done it. Who could the murderer be? Poirot is on the case.

For more on Agatha Christie, go to Shame Book Tag

Tea #3: Rooibos + Bourbon Vanilla

So I thought I would like this tea, as who doesn’t love vanilla? But OMGoodness I was not prepared for how amazing this tea was. It was so delicious I just drank it and drank it and before I knew it, I had drank it all up. It was sweet, wonderful, and smelled so good.

What I felt for the tea, I felt the same way about this book. When I saw the art deco style cover, I thought I would enjoy this mystery, but I didn’t realize how much I would love it. The story is of Perveen Mistry, female Indian lawyer, in the 1920s. She is sent out to a small princely state to speak to the Dowager Maharani (grandmother) and Maharani (mother) about the young Maharaja’s schooling. She is the only one who can as the ladies are observing purdah (and cannot speak to any men not related to them). Preveen travels out there and finds things are not well in the palace. The Dowager Maharani and the Maharani are both fighting for control, the circumstances of the older brother’s death are very suspicious, and Perveen believes the young prince might be next-especially after a monkey eats her bread and dies. Will Perveen be able to figure out who is responsible in time to save the prince, or will she be next?

Not only is this an intriguing mystery, but Perveen has an interesting and heartbreaking backstory. It was fantastic and so easy to have your attention captured-and keep flipping pages to find out what happens next.

Tea #4: Rooibos + Chai

This was absolutely delicious and just what I wanted in my chai tea-spicy but not too much, sweet but the right amount-i.e everything I wanted. It was so good that after I finished the bourbon one, the chai was gone just like that “snap”.

Like the tea, The Sign of the Four has everything you could want in a Sherlock Holmes mystery. You have a beautiful woman in need (Watson notes she is very attractive [he’s in love with her]), a disappeared father, jewels, a mysterious note, a secret treasure, a peculiar mansion, a villain with a wooden leg, a puzzling death, a bloodhound, and the sign of the four.

It is an amazing mystery, Holmes and Doyle at their finest, and like I said gives you everything your could want. It also is what I believe The Great Mouse Detective was based on, so if you love that movie-you’ll love this book.

For more on Sherlock Holmes, go to Your Cases Have Indeed Been of the Greatest Interest to Me: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Tea #5: Rooibos + Ginger

So I didn’t think I would like this tea as ginger tea is often too strong, but this was not overpowering but the right amount. It was enjoyable but still had a bit of a kick to it. It’s not something that I would drink all the time, but is perfect for every now and then or if I have a stomachache.

I felt this book was perfect to pair with it as it is a good story but the sam time has a “kick” to it that gets you thinking…I will actually discuss the book fully below.

So it has been over three months since I did a book club book review, I was only a few behind but then things happened and I fell behind.

 

I am 13 books behind…

I know, I know-stop looking at me like that. I just will have to try harder to catch up.

Hmmm…

Anyways…so quick recap for those who haven’t heard of my book club.

So as you all know I started a book club a few years ago, 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 and need to be around others who feel the same.

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

The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected by Nik Ripken

So as I read this book 13 months ago, I was hoping to reread it as it had been a while and I wanted to make sure I got the timeline right. So I went to the book from the library…but it turns out the person who checked it out never returned it. Called (I work in the library) and sent notices but the book has not been returned.

Seriously??????!!!!!!!!!!!

I HATE when people do that!!!!!!

I then thought I would ask the other book club member, (one member had borrowed my library book) but she lent it to a friend who never gave it back.

So I’m doing this all based on what I remember from reading this 13 months ago, hopefully this go well. Right now I apologize for anything I write that is wrong.

So the first thing that struck me about this book, was the title. “Insanity of God”? What does that mean? Why did he choose that title?

The story starts off with Nik Ripken (a pseudonym) sharing how he came to know Christ. He was a kid that loved baseball, but God took a hold of his life and set him out on a new path.

He ends up going to a Christian college and meets and marries a pastor’s daughter. After both graduate, they both feel the strong call of the mission field and when they ask to be sent out, they are asked for their qualifications. For Nik, he quotes the Great Commission.

Matthew 28:19-20

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

That part made me laugh so hard.

As Nik hadn’t been raised in church he didn’t know what exactly was being asked. They want to know his education, spiritual journey, youth mission trips, background, etc-but Nik is confident in that the Great Commission tells you to go all throughout the world and he wants to answer the call.

If he was on his own he would have been denied, but his wife knows the lingo and what is being said so they are able to be sent out. They both have a heart for Africa and get sent to Somalia in 1992.

Nik and his wife aren’t able to have a “church” but are sent with an aid group, of which they try and preach to people but find it extremely difficult. Christianity is illegal and having a church is illegal, and anyone who becomes a Christian is often taken away and never seen again. Nik and his wife really struggle with questioning what they are they doing there, is it right being here? Are they helping people?

Things get more unsettled in the country, and the Somali Civil War breaks out. His charity group requests the UN to come take action, and when they do send help, he is one of the people that helps map out the unknown areas of Somalia. I remember him describing the villages and the horror-but one really sticks in my mind. There was a village that was full of kids and had no parents and one of parents with no children, so they went and took the kids to the adults.

Also it was really hard to get the people in need the supplies as the leaders and soldiers would steal them and sell them or use them, and the people would continue to go hungry and without. War is sad and hard.

Ripken’s father didn’t care for him becoming a minister, but when Black Hawk Down came out, he was suddenly proud of his son telling all his friends that Ripken made that happen-the military going in.

The first part of the book was on his mission trip and they later were moved out of Somalia into South Africa, but were moved again. A big milestone in their life and faith was when their son grew ill and because the conditions of their home they lived in aggravated it, their son died. After this, they became heartbroken and returned to the states.

They return to the United States and teach at a bible college to young adults going out into the missions but feel really mixed up. Did they help anyone? Going through trials and tribulations every day was hard and wore them out-how do they keep people going? How do they bloom, survive, and keep going when everything is bleak, when it would be easier to give up and go home?

Ripken then goes on a quest to get this information, to speak to people who have had to go to trials and survived still praising God.

There were two incidents in the quest that really struck me, and I can’t remember their names exactly-but I remember pieces.

The first one took place in Russia. This man was jailed during the communist reign, when Christianity was outlawed and the only religion allowed was the worship of the state. He was thrown in jail-often in isolation, but the thing that kept him going was writing down the word of God. He wrote verse after verse that he remembers, helping to lock it in his brain. The beatings, isolation, lack of food, cold, etc-it was all bearable when he could get a scrap and write something down. That is what got him through.

Ripken later goes to China and their he mets several secret churches, as the church is illegal there. These Christians actually delight in getting thrown in jail or having tribulations, as they feel that is a real marker of being a Christian and consider that is when they go to “school” and recieve their “theological education”. Before anyone can be a pastor they have to have been thrown in prison.

When Ripken leaves he asks what they need and all they want is bibles, a bible. He gives them his and they take the pieces apart and hand them off to different people so they have a book to memorize, and it reminded of how they memorized books in Fahrenheit 451.

It also makes me think of how lucky we are in the United States, how many bibles are available in my home, in my parent’s home, for free, online, in a phone app, etc-and here are people begging for a page.

Wow!

The rest of the book has different stories-and I enjoyed it. It defintely made you realize how lucky you are to be in the United States and how grateful we should be for everything we have, even in the midst of COVID-19.

At the end of the book, I concluded that the insanity was not in reference to God, him being insane, but how we feel as humans. We can only comprehend so much of what God’s plan is with our tiny human brain-it seems insane, but God has a plan for us-a bigger picture.

Hmmm…

For more Book Club Picks, go to Book Club Picks: Chasing the Wind

For more Christian novels, go to Praying With Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen

For more nonfiction, go to The History of England By a Partial Prejudiced and Ignorant Historian or is Jane Austen a Precursor to Drunk History?

For more bible verses, go to Literary Tea Parties

Book Club Picks: Chasing the Wind

So it has been a loooooooooooooooooooong time since I did a book club book review, I was only a few behind but then things happened and I fell behind.

I am almost a year behind in reviews, but I will do my hardest to catch up.

So quick recap for those who haven’t heard of my book club.

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 and need to be around others who feel the same.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. This time was my turn and I chose:

Chasing the Wind (California Rising #3) by Paula Scott

So I was first introduced to Paula Scott when I worked at our local museum. I actually got to meet the her and speak to her, and after hearing about how she researched and just listening to how she spoke about her work I decided to borrow the book from the library and read: Until the Day Breaks.

Then the second book came out and my coworker and I were discussing the series and she told me that she had really enjoyed it. A couple weeks later I was at work and realized, I had forgotten to bring a book to pass the time when we had no one visiting the museum.

I bought the Far Side of the Sea and could not put it down!

So of course I had to share the books with my book club:

So on to the third book:

The first book was the story of Protestant Rachel coming to Catholic California from the East coast, getting an arranged marriage to Roman Vasquez, befriending Roman’s sisters Maria and Isabella, and getting caught up in Bear Flag Revolt.

The second book was about Maria who gets kidnapped by Rachel’s father, raped, joins a shipping company, goes around the Americas, and ends up in the gentrifying/creating the lawful city of San Francisco. The second book is my favorite as it is an amazing story of overcoming trauma, working through past issues and insecurity, redemption, and has a powerful female character.

Chasing the Wind is the third installment and the story follows the path of Isabella Vasquez. Isabella is biracial (Native American and Russian), her mother died when she was a baby and her father, a fur trapper, brought her to Mission San Francisco Solano. There she was adopted by the Vasquez family, adopted cousin to Roman and Maria but raised as their sibling.

In the first book, she is a young girl who is one of Rachel’s first friends, spending time with her and giving her an education on the culture. With the Americans taking California, Isabella’s life is about to dramatically change. In the second book she has grown into a beautiful young woman, headed with her adopted father to the gold fields of Marysville, CA.

Marysville, for many who don’t know, was named after one of the survivors of the Donner Party and was the gateway to the gold fields. It used to be one of the largest cities in CA, a rival to San Francisco (until all the silt went into the river and made it hard for ships to pass through). You could get anything and everything you wanted in Marysville, but it was also a very hard place to live-especially for a woman-especially for a Native American woman. 

Peter Brondi is a mountain man who tamed the west with Kit Carson and John C. Fremont. He fought in the Mexican American War and against Native Americans. In fact he hates Native Americans for the horrors he witnessed and because one stole his father-he married one and had a son with her.

He’s currently searching for his half brother Paul, to bring him home and see their old and dying father. However, there is always time for cards and and he plays them winning the mining camp singer Bluebird-nickname for Isabella Vasquez.

Yes, once Isabella was the daughter of the rich Californio and now she is property-having lost her privilege and status when California changed hands.

I really enjoyed the way Paula Scott dealt with the cultural issues as there are very few books out there that cover this. We have a biracial character, raised in a completely different culture, and trying to navigate the changing culture of the state she lives in while trying to understand the identity of who she is in a world that there are hardly any like her.

Tell you what Isabella it’s almost 170 years later and it still is difficult for biracial and multicultural people.

So it doesn’t matter that Isabella is half Russian-Native American is all the world sees and how they treat her. She was educated, knows how to read and write, and speak multiple languages…but is treated like cattle. She is won by Peter, who is pressured into marrying her by a circuit preacher.

They have a night of passion-with sweet, naive, and young Isabella falling head over heels in love. The next day Peter drops her off at a brothel as he doesn’t believe they can really be married. I mean she was in a saloon and traveled the mining camps singing, there’s no way she is a classy lady-she must be a prostitute.

The brothel that she is dropped off at is still standing and now a restaurant, The Silver Dollar Saloon. We were able to meet with Paula Scott there and discuss this book along with the one she was currently working on Farming Grace: A Memoir of Life, Love, and a Harvest of Faith (which we read in September and I will review later).

Silver Dollar Saloon in Marysville, CA

When Peter left I was like this can’t be real, he’s going to march right back-but no. Isabella stays behind at the brothel earning her keep by reading to men and singing.

Poor Isabella, all she wanted was to belong to a family and then start her own. She lost hers, gained one with Peter…or so she thought. Now she has no one.

I’m so happy!

Peter leaves and Paul comes back to town. Paul falls for Isabella and every night tries to charm her more and more. Isabella is heartbroken, vulnerable, and alone.  Each night Paul breaks down more and more of her walls and she gives in to him.

But oh no…Paul leaves to get away from some card players he owes, Isabella turns out to be pregnant, she is attacked by a sadistic man, she flees to Fort Ross to search for her real father, Peter returns and discovers her “betrayal”, and Peter follows her-intent of finding her and doing right by her, but will they be able to reconcile after all that has transpired?

Tell ME!!!!!

So at first I was very angry with Peter. He left her in a brothel and then is angry because she started having sex with someone???!!! YOU LEFT HER IN A BROTHEL!!!! WHAT DID YOU THINK WAS GOING TO HAPPEN???

But he does improve as you read. Scott created complex characters as Peter isn’t your usual hero and has to go on an emotional journey of working through envy, bitterness, prejudice, pride, iron out the issues with his father and brother in order to be a real man and a good husband.

Isabella has to go on her own journey to discover who she is, work on her abandonment issues, insecurity, forgiveness, bitterness, her own familial issues

Both are able to accomplish this by their faith and trust in God.

It was an amazing story! I highly recommend it! I LOVED it! I could not put it down as I consumed page after page in earnest to see how it would end. The characters are amazing and the story captivating.

For more Book Club Picks, go to Book Club Picks: Julie

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

For more California Rising books, go to Book Club Pick: Far Side of the Sea

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

For more bible verses, go to Literary Tea Parties