Book Club Picks: Until the Day Breaks

So as you all know I started a book club last year. 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 was my turn and I picked:

Until the Day Breaks (California Rising #1) by Paula Scott

I was first introduced to this book when the author came into the museum I was working at as she needed to discuss something with the curator. We started talking about the book and California and Western history as I absolutely love it.

I read it and the sequel, and enjoyed both of them. So of course, when a few months passed and it was my turn again-I picked it.

So the book takes place in 1846. California “belongs” to Mexico, but not really being more independent. The United States looms closer and closer, Manifest Destiny gobbling up more states. Rachel Tyler grew up in Massachusetts, is Protestant, and raised by her grandparents. She is a sweet woman and engaged to minister hopeful, Stephen. (As soon as his mother dies and releases her control over him)

Well that all changes when her father, Joshua Tyler, awakens their long silence. After Rachel’s mother died, he took off to California to make his fortune and has, in some nefarious ways. He married a wealthy Californio’s niece, Sarita, a girl only a year or so older than his daughter and has brokered a deal matching his daughter with Sarita’s cousin, Roman Vasquez.

This match will work for for Joshua Tyler-as if California remains in Mexico’s control he will have protection in the match. If the United States take over, Tyler can secure the Vasquez land and money through his daughter.

Rachel is hurt over the broken engagement with Stephen and in even more dismay over her upcoming marriage to Roman. Roman is a lusty, passionate, and angry man. Rachel is afraid of that passion, especially as she starts to find herself falling in love with him.

Roman has returned from fighting in the American Intervention with Mexico, known as the Mexican American War by the United States; injured, angry, and finding California completely different then what he left. His family thought he was killed, his fiancé married Joshua Tyler, his family fortune and land is dwindling through his uncle’s gambling, and now he has to marry this Yankee?

But as Roman gets to know Rachel she touches him in a way no one has in a long time. Her kindness, sweetness, and relationship with Christ starts to affect him. But can he really overcome his lust, passion, and anger?

To complicate things further-Sarita is a witch who is angry that Tohic, the god she worships, lied to her about Roman’s death. Even though she is married and Roman is engaged-she will sacrifice anything and do everything to get what she wants.

And as California looks more and more like war is coming-all are uncertain what that means and what exactly to do?

Then to everyone’s surprise Rachel’s ex-fiance shows up! And he brings his friend and ship Captain Dominic Mason.

This is a power firecracker of a novel. It is enjoyable and a real page turner. Every one of us ladies finished long before book club was scheduled to meet.

So while we discussed our book, I thought that in the flavor of Daring Chloe, we should meet in my California town’s historical Saloon that existed in the same time this book is set in. It really was a lot of fun. Here’s a couple of snaps I took. I meant to get a pic of the book in the restaurant,but forgot-maybe I’ll stop by and do it again.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: The Illustrated Man

For more Christian fiction, go to Book Club Picks: The Masterpiece

For more bible verses, go to Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide

 

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Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide

A conscience is a very important thing. Without it we would make bad decision after bad decision.

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But unfortunately, not all of us are tuned into our conscience. Some of us just go about doing what we want without thinking of others.

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Hopefully those people have someone who will help keep them in check. Someone willing to point out their errors and how best to fix them. Someone…well someone like Mr. Knightley.

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Yes, Emma was one of those people who doesn’t think of others.

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It’s not that she tries to be cruel, she was just raised getting whatever she wants so she only focuses on her needs and desires. This can cause issues as she doesn’t always behave the best way.

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Luckily Mr. Knightley is on the case to bettering her, whether she likes it or not.

“Mr. Knightley, in fact, was one of the few people who could see faults in Emma Woodhouse, and the only one who ever told her of them…”

Yep, Mr. Knightley is the only one making sure Emma doesn’t turn out to be a selfish person. While Emma may not like having her faults pointed out:

How rude

Mr. Knightley is only trying to do his duty as her friend. Yes, friends are there to support and encourage you:

But to also call us out on the stuff we are doing that’s not right as well.

A lot of people see this as mean, but it is just the Austen version of:

After all real friends are there to help you grow.

And whether it is tough love, supportive love, encouraging love, etc:

For more on Emma Woodhouse, go to You Cannot Think That I Will Leave Off Match-Making

For more on Mr. Knightley, go to Book Club Picks: A Common Life, The Wedding Story

For more on Emma, go to Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating

For more bible verses, go to Book Club Picks: The Illustrated Man

Book Club Picks: The Illustrated Man

Thirteen weeks after a Friday the 13th, we have another

Don’t worry I got you covered with my new post.

So as you all know I started a book club last year. I have fallen behind with my posts, but I am now right on track!

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.

The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury

I don’t remember when I first read this book, but I know it was after Fahrenheit 451Out of all his short story collections; this is my ultimate favorite. The stories range from funny, thoughtful, and downright creepy. It is an incredible collection and once you start, you just can’t stop. I’ve talked about this book before, but here we go again:

Or 10th, 50th, 100th….

Since I have posted on this before, I am only going to discuss the stories we went over in our book club.

The Illustrated Man starts with an average joe taking a walking tour in the summer of Wisconsin. As he stops for the night he is come upon by an illustrated man.

This man used to work for the circus, but back in 1900 he broke his leg. Looking for a way to make money while he rested, he went to a tattoo artist who covered him from neck to belt. What he didn’t know was that this tattoo artist was a witch.

Yes, she infused his illustrations with magic making them be alive and always moving telling their story.

However, there is one blank spot on his back. If you are a woman, you see your whole life from birth to old age. If you are a man, you see how you die.

The illustrated man warns his companion not to look, but he doesn’t listen and has to see them…

Illustration I: The Veldt

The Lion King

This is what the DCOM Smart House is loosely based on.

The live in the future in a smart house that does everything for them. They even can change the pictures on the walls to be anything they want them to be. The children constantly want it to be a veldt with lions.

The parents try to discipline their children and get them to do more but all they want to do is sit around and have the machines do everything for them. The parents determine it is time to turn off the house and go back to how things are supposed to be. Will the parents be able to change their kids? Or will the kids make sure their parents can never boss them around again?

“The lions look real, don’t they?…I don’t suppose there’s any way—–‘

‘What?’

‘—that they could become real?”

No one else really enjoyed this story as they felt it was too sad. I like it as it is a great blend of creepy and thrilling. It shows you why you should not spoil your children-and a big wake up to having your kid just sit in front of a tablet, phone, or TV. I love it, and think you should check it out.

Illustration III: The Other Foot

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Mars has been colonized only by African Americans. Now they hear that European Americans are traveling to Mars and decide to institute a Jim Crow law for them. Will they decide to make them pay for past wrongs, or will they all be able to start a new life in equality?

“This is the other shoe, Mayor, the other foot…”

We all loved this story. It has such a great message and a fantastic ending!

Illustration V: The Man

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A crew arrive on a planet ready to have glory and fame, but find the people uninterested as the person who came before them brought extreme happiness and bliss. One crewman believes him to be Jesus and wants to learn from the people. The Captain, however, is set on getting his glory and will stop this man any way he can.

“Leave these people alone. They’ve got something good and decent, and you come and foul up the nest and sneer at it. Well, I’ve talked to them too. I’ve gone through the city and seen their faces, and they’ve got something you’ll never have–a little simple faith, and they’ll move mountains with it. You, you’re boiled because someone stole your act, got here ahead and made you unimportant.”

The member who chose the book, this is her favorite story. She loves how it plays out and how the character’s testimony was so strong it helped the one man believe and have faith. She compared it to Christianity and Jesus. We all enjoyed this story as well. 

Illustration VI: The Long Rain

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We have colonized Venus, but it is a horrible place of endless rain. Sun domes were built to help us stay sane and in health, and this story follows a group of astronauts as they hope to make it to the dome, but will they?

“Drops fell and touched other drops and they became streams that trickled over his body, and while these moved down his flesh, the small growths of the forest took root in his clothing.”

We all enjoyed this story as well. One member posed a very interesting question: Does the sundome exist or is it just a mirage?

Illustration VII: The Fire Balloons

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A group of priests go to Mars to start a church and help bring peace and morals to a crazed group of colonists. One priest makes it his mission to try and bring Christ to the Martians.

“We feel absurd here—even I; for it is something new, this business of converting the creatures of another world.”

One member just loved this story. He felt that it was a perfect illustration for missionary work and just loved how the one priest had such a fire and desire to be there for the fire balloons and try and show them God’s love.

Illustration IX: The Last Night of the World

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A married couple realize that today is the last day on Earth. How would you spend your time if you had such an inclination?

“What would you do if you knew this was the last night in the world?”

One member just loved this story. She felt that if it was her last night on Earth she would spend it the exact same way.

Illustration X: The Exiles

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On Earth, countless literature from Edgar Allen Poe to William Shakespeare to Charles Dickens have been banned on Earth. They remain alive on Mars as their last books are still undamaged there. But when humans decide to completely destroy every page, these characters and their creators decide to wage a war on them. Will they win?

“His last book gone. Someone on Earth just now burned it.’

‘God rest him. Nothing of him left now. For what are we but books, and when those are gone, nothing’s to be seen.”

I love this one. Books fighting back, trying to survive in a world that feels they aren’t needed, a great story.

Illustration XVII: Zero Hour

Miscommunication is always funny as a kid. Not so much later on in life.

Kids are playing that aliens are coming, an invasion in which they will rule and the grow ups will be gone. But what if it isn’t a game?

“Mom, I’ll be sure you won’t be hurt much, really!”

All agreed super creepy, but a very good read.

Illustration XVIII: The Rocket

From the film Stargate.

From the film Stargate.

Fiorello Bodoni has saved $3000 to send a family member into space, but only one can go. Which one?

“We will remember it for always, Papa. We will never forget.”

We all loved this story. Just the love this family has and how much they care about each other. A fantastic read!

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

For more books by Ray Bradbury, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For more on The Illustrated Man, go toEach Illustration is a Little Story. If You Watch Them, In a Few Minutes They Tell You a Tale: The Illustrated Man

Book Club Picks: The Masterpiece

So as you all know I started a book club last year. I have fallen behind with my posts, but I was catching up.  I am for sure only one behind now. 🙂

No I’m serious! This time I am really only one behind!

We’ll see.

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.

The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

So Francine Rivers is a favorite author of mine. I’ve read everything of her Christian fiction, except one, The Last Sin Eater. So when the book club member suggested us reading it, I was totally down and excited.

Grace Moore has been through a lot in her life. A painful childhood, growing up with a cold and emotionally separated aunt. She put her dreams on hold for her husband, had a disastrous marriage, lost her job, and is now a single mom.

She was going to give her child up for adoption, living with the potential family but changed her mind. Now she is trying to figure out how to take care of her son and make enough money to move out as the family is trying to take her child. Everything seems to be a big no, until she finally gets a job as a assistant to temperamental artist Roman Velasco. He’s never been able to keep one as he is too out there and hard to work with, but Grace is hoping to stick it out until she can find something else.

Roman Velasco has his own hard life. He lost his mom years back, was put in foster care, and sent all over San Francisco as they just kept moving him on. He joins a gang as a runner but then becomes the tagger, graffitiing the gang everywhere. He ends up being sent to a ranch, but as soon as he is old enough takes off.

He has always been interested in painting and art, and ends up becoming a very rich and profitable one. But he has a secret. At night he runs around Los Angeles, creating graffiti art going under BRD-Billy Ray Dean, his real name. He also has been growing ill, and not feeling good-but keeps that and the BRD secret.

Grace is instantly attracted to him, but knows she needs to stay away as she has bad choices in men, he has a lot of issues, and is not a Christian.

Roman tries to leave Grace alone, but is attracted to her. He ends up letting her in more than any person in his life has been let in. But then something happens that changes their relationship forever. Will things work out or will this masterpiece go through several changes before it is completed?

This was a fantastic book and a real page turner. I never wanted to put it down, and just had to find out what happened next.

Defintely worth a read! Check it out today!

The cover of the book comes from a real graffiti painting. It is called Time Flies by artist Camer1For more about it, check out Francine Rivers blog. Our book club member who chose the book actually was able to go to San Francisco and see it in person.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: O Pioneers!

For more books by Francine Rivers, go to Book Club Picks: A Voice in the Wind

For more Christian works, go to Who Says I Have to Stop: Fireproof (2008)

For more bible verses, go to Book Club Picks: This Present Darkness

Book Club Picks: This Present Darkness

So as you all know I started a book club last year. I have fallen behind with my posts, but I was catching up.  I was only two behind, and now I still am.

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. The next one was:

This Present Darkness (Darkness #1) by Frank Peretti

Frank Peretti is one of my favorite authors. In fact I was able to meet him once and totally fangirled over him. But he was super nice as he autographed my books and actually spent a long time talking to me. It made the other people in line mad, and I can’t blame them, but I didn’t care as I had just met FRANK PERETTI!

Frank Peretti started out being a pastor, but discovered that it wasn’t the life for him. He drifted from job to job, and while working in a snowshoe factory he wrote his first novel, and this book, This Present Darkness. He has now written over 30 books for adults, teens, and children. His books are amazing as they always have great, realistic characters, action, adventure, suspense, and a moral message. Every time I read his works I feel great!

This book is about a small town Ashton that becomes the battleground in a war between angels and demons.

Rafar the prince of Babylon is taking over, using his followers to take over the town and its college in order to indoctrinate the students into believing their untruths. They also have city council, board members, the police chief, and the pastor of a mega church in their court.

On the other side we have a pastor of a small church, Rev. Hank Busche, a true prayer warrior. He was brought in accidentally, and unable to be controlled. He kneels every morning in prayer for his town fighting the only way he can.

Marshall Hogan, editor of the Ashton newspaper, becomes involved when his reporter Bernice Krueger sees something she shouldn’t. After she is falsely arrested, so that the police can tamper with evidence, Marshall and Bernice try to blow the top off the coverup.

It has action, comedy, suspense, drama, and the supernatural.

It is a powerful story. I reread it every 6 months as it recharges me and builds me up in my faith.

If you enjoy Christian fiction, you need to check this out. I love this book and I cannot stress it enough how much I do.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: The Zookeeper’s Wife

For more Frank Peretti, go to It Feels So Good to See the Bad Guys Scared for a Change: Hangman’s Curse (2003)

For more on This Present Darkness, go to A Whole Lot of Fanfare

For more Christian fiction, go to Book Club Picks: A Voice in the Wind

For more bible verses, go to Who Says I Have to Stop: Fireproof (2008)

For more on spiritual warfare, go to He is Coming: The Visitation (2006)

 

Who Says I Have to Stop: Fireproof (2008)

Romantic Moment #1

Fireproof (2008)

So I have always been a giant Kirk Cameron fan. I loved Mike Seaver on Growing Pains and after he became a Christian and switched to Christian films-well I watched every thing he was in. So when Fireproof came out in theaters, I was there. And when the DVD went on sale, I was the first at the Christian bookstore to buy it.

Anyways, I actually planned on picking a moment from this for last year’s Romance is in the Air, but didn’t get a chance to.

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So the story is of married couple Caleb (Kirk Cameron) and Catherine Holt (Erin Bethea), who have been falling further and further apart.

Caleb is a fireman who feels as if his wife doesn’t care about him, support him, or respects him. Nothing he does is good enough for her and all they do is fight, fight, fight.

Catherine feels as if Caleb doesn’t love and respect her as he is saving money towards his dream of a boat instead of using it for them, and because of his addiction. When a doctor at the hospital she works at starts paying a lot of attention to her, she eagerly responds to it.

Both are ready for divorce, but Caleb’s father comes to him and asks him to try one last thing. He gives him a book called The Love Dare, that includes a 40 Day challenge, with scriptures, to try and help heal their marriage and hearts.

Psalm 147:3

At first Caleb is only half-hearted, doing barely anything to complete his “daily challenge.”

But then he commits himself to God, God begins working on his heart, and he is all in.

But will it be enough to convince Catherine? Will he be able to win Catherine’s heart back? Or is it too late and the relationship has ended?

***Spolier Alert***

Most Romantic Moment: Who Says I Have to Stop

This moment comes at the very end of the film. Caleb has been trying and trying, but after all they have been through Catherine doesn’t even care, she doesn’t want to care because she is afraid of getting hurt again.

One day she is sick and Caleb comes to care for her-bringing her medicine and soup and the like. But Catherine won’t accept his help, she is actually pretty nasty to him.

But Caleb takes it from her. And this upsets Catherine that she reveals why she is so angry now. She find his Love Dare and feels all this is fake.

Catherine Holt: So, what day are you on?

Caleb Holt: 43.

Catherine Holt: There’s only 40.

Caleb Holt: Who says I have to stop?

Catherine Holt: Caleb, I don’t know how to process this. This is not normal for you.

Caleb Holt: Welcome to the new normal.

It doesn’t matter to him that the challenge has “ended” he wants to continue to show how much he loves and cares for her.

This is so romantic!

So awesome!

And even though it is hard and he has received nothing back, he continues to show his love and devotion to his wife.

For more on Kirk Cameron, go to Fandom Love

For more bible verses, go to Book Club Picks: A Wrinkle in Time

For more Christian films, go to It Feels So Good to See the Bad Guys Scared for a Change: Hangman’s Curse (2003)

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

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?

Should We Pity Miss Bates or Strive to Be Her?

Oh Miss. Bates. Often we see her in Emma  films or when we encounter her in the story we ignore her:

Find her annoying:

Or pity her:

But then something stood out to me this time I read it that made me wonder…

Hmm…

Maybe WE have always approached this character the wrong way and we should actually strive to BE her.

So let’s start at the beginning.

Miss Bates was the daughter of a vicar, he having passed on and left the family in an improvised state.

She isn’t known to be intelligent, witty, or wise.

She wasn’t considered beautiful when she was young and isn’t seen as such now,

She never was courted, engaged, or married.

Her youth passed by with no distinction.

She now is middle-aged and spends all her time taking care of her elderly mother.

 And she spends most of her time trying to stretch her dollars as far as they can go.

Yes, life seems to be pretty grim.

So why should we want to be like her?

Because, despite ALL this, despite her life and circumstances, this is how she is:

“And yet she was a happy woman, and a woman whom no one named without good-will[sic].”

And where does this happiness come from? How does she have such pleasant emotion in such a bleak situation?

“It was her own universal good-will[sic] and contented temper which worked such wonders.”

Yes, her happiness isn’t derived from objects, money, people, beauty, etc. She is happy because she wants to be happy…

And because she can find pleasure in everything.

“She loved everybody, was interested in everyone’s happiness, quicksighted[sic] to every body’s merits: thought herself a most fortunate creature, and surrounded with blessings in such an excellent mother, and so many good neighbors and friends, and a home that wanted for nothing.”

Yes, most of us would be complaining, grumbling, whining, or disgusted to have her life…

But that isn’t how Miss Bates react. Instead she is joyful in everything and thankful for all she has in her life, even though most would view it as nothing. She reminds me of the green onion girl from Veggietales. Always joyful in everything.

And because of her joyful spirit she finds herself enjoying “a most uncommon degree of popularity.”

And that’s why I believe we should strive to be like her. How much nicer would life be if we learn to love what we have? If we tried to be kind and compassionate to all? If we looked at the good in others and our life instead of focusing on the negative?

For more on Miss Bates, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

For more Emma, go to When You Shockingly Relate to Mr. Woodhouse

For more Cristina Garcia quotes, go to Optimum Image

For more Charles Dickens quotes, go to Trek the Halls with Bones and Scotty

For more L.M. Montgomery quotes, go to I’m the Happiest Girl on Prince Edward Island: Anne of Green Gables

For more bible verses, go to Each Illustration is a Little Story. If You Watch Them, In a Few Minutes They Tell You a Tale: The Illustrated Man

For more Steve Maraboli quotes, go to The Final Chapter

Each Illustration is a Little Story. If You Watch Them, In a Few Minutes They Tell You a Tale: The Illustrated Man

Day 19) S is for Short Stories: Choose a collection of Short Stories

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The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury

I don’t remember when I first read this book, but I know it was after Fahrenheit 451Out of all his short story collections; this is my ultimate favorite. The stories range from funny, thoughtful, and downright creepy. It is an incredible collection and once you start, you just can’t stop.

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The Illustrated Man starts with an average joe taking a walking tour in the summer of Wisconsin. As he stops for the night he is come upon by an illustrated man.

This man used to work for the circus, but back in 1900 he broke his leg. Looking for a way to make money while he rested, he went to a tattoo artist who covered him from neck to belt. What he didn’t know was that this tattoo artist was a witch.

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Yes, she infused his illustrations with magic making them be alive and always moving telling their story.

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However, there is one blank spot on his back. If you are a woman, you see your whole life from birth to old age. If you are a man, you see how you die.

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The illustrated man warns his companion not to look, but he doesn’t listen and has to see them…

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Illustration I: The Veldt

The Lion King

This is what the DCOM Smart House is loosely based on.

The live in the future in a smart house that does everything for them. They even can change the pictures on the walls to be anything they want them to be. The children constantly want it to be a veldt with lions.

The parents try to discipline their children and get them to do more but all they want to do is sit around and have the machines do everything for them. The parents determine it is time to turn off the house and go back to how things are supposed to be. Will the parents be able to change their kids? Or will the kids make sure their parents can never boss them around again?

“The lions look real, don’t they?…I don’t suppose there’s any way—–‘

‘What?’

‘—that they could become real?”

Illustration II: Kaleidoscope

Space Mountain

The crew of a space ship has been torn apart, and this records their last thoughts as they hurl toward Earth.

“It was so very odd. Space, thousands of miles of space, and these voices vibrating in the center of it.”

Illustration III: The Other Foot

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Mars has been colonized only by African Americans. Now they hear that European Americans are traveling to Mars and decide to institute a Jim Crow law for them. Will they decide to make them pay for past wrongs, or will they all be able to start a new life in equality?

“This is the other shoe, Mayor, the other foot…”

Illustration IV: The Highway

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A husband and wife live by a highway in rural Mexico, where people stop all the time. Something seems to be more pressing than usual, but what?

“Oh, please hurry!’ one of the girls cried. She sounded very high and afraid.”

Illustration V: The Man

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A crew arrive on a planet ready to have glory and fame, but find the people uninterested as the person who came before them brought extreme happiness and bliss. One crewman believes him to be Jesus and wants to learn from the people. The Captain, however, is set on getting his glory and will stop this man any way he can.

“Leave these people alone. They’ve got something good and decent, and you come and foul up the nest and sneer at it. Well, I’ve talked to them too. I’ve gone through the city and seen their faces, and they’ve got something you’ll never have–a little simple faith, and they’ll move mountains with it. You, you’re boiled because someone stole your act, got here ahead and made you unimportant.”

Illustration VI: The Long Rain

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We have colonized Venus, but it is a horrible place of endless rain. Sun domes were built to help us stay sane and in health, and this story follows a group of astronauts as they hope to make it to the dome, but will they?

“Drops fell and touched other drops and they became streams that trickled over his body, and while these moved down his flesh, the small growths of the forest took root in his clothing.”

Illustration VII: The Rocket Man

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Astronauts are hard to come by and a hard life, so those that are astronauts are paid a lot, but gone for months. This story is the relationship of the mother and son as they deal with the father/husband’s absence.

“Doug…I want you to promise me something.’

‘What?’

‘Don’t ever be a Rocket Man.”

Illustration VII: The Fire Balloons

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A group of priests go to Mars to start a church and help bring peace and morals to a crazed group of colonists. One priest makes it his mission to try and bring Christ to the Martians.

“We feel absurd here—even I; for it is something new, this business of converting the creatures of another world.”

Illustration IX: The Last Night of the World

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A married couple realize that today is the last day on Earth. How would you spend your time if you had such an inclination?

“What would you do if you knew this was the last night in the world?”

Illustration X: The Exiles

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On Earth, countless literature from Edgar Allen Poe to William Shakespeare to Charles Dickens have been banned on Earth. They remain alive on Mars as their last books are still undamaged there. But when humans decide to completely destroy every page, these characters and their creators decide to wage a war on them. Will they win?

“His last book gone. Someone on Earth just now burned it.’

‘God rest him. Nothing of him left now. For what are we but books, and when those are gone, nothing’s to be seen.”

Illustration XI: No Particular Night or Morning

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Two friends are traveling in a spaceship, as one determines that nothing exists that he cannot touch. Is he right and there is nothing in space but emptiness?

“So I began to find gaps between everything. I doubted I was married or had a child or ever had a job in my life…I couldn’t prove anything.”

Illustration XII: The Fox and the Forest

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In the future, the world is an ugly one full of war and life in a factory creating more weapons of war. The one bright spot is the ability to travel back in time. A couple, William and Susan Travis, decide to run for their lives by remaining in 1930s Mexico. But will their plan work, or will they be captured and sent back?

“Save me, hide me, help me! Color my hair, my eyes; clothe me in strange clothes. I need your help. I’m from the year 2155!”

Illustration XIII: The Visitor

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Mars is a place where those with deadly diseases go and live out the remainders of their days. One day a young boy comes with the ability to create any image or bring back any memory. He plans to use it and rule over the others; but will they be willing to share or will they take him for what they want?

“Come on. Don’t you realize what’ll happen once they discover your talent? They’ll fight over you. They’ll kill each other–kill you–for the right to own you.”

Illustration XIV: The Concrete Mixer

The Day the Earth Stood Still

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Mars goes to invade Earth, but instead finds the people welcoming them. One Martin, Ettil, never wanted to travel to Earth. He finds that although the Earthlings hope to exploit Martians, the Earth ways will also mark death for the Martians.

“Don’t you feel it?’ he whispered…Something’s going to happen to us. They have some plan. Something subtle and horrible. They’re going to do something to us-I know.”

Illustration XV: Marionettes, Inc.

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A man is tired of his clingy wife and pays for a cyborg double to take his place so he can go off and have fun. But what if the puppet is no longer satisfied at being controlled and wants to control the strings?

“Your wife is rather nice,’ said Braling Two. ‘I’ve grown rather fond of her.”

Illustration XVI: The City

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A group of astronauts land on an uncharted planet and find an empty city. But they soon realize this city is not as empty as it looks, as it has been waiting to unleash what it was made for.

“I am no longer your captain,’ he said. ‘Nor am I a man.’

The men moved back.

‘I am the city,’ he said, and smiled.”

Illustration XVII: Zero Hour

Miscommunication is always funny as a kid. Not so much later on in life.

Kids are playing that aliens are coming, an invasion in which they will rule and the grow ups will be gone. But what if it isn’t a game?

“Mom, I’ll be sure you won’t be hurt much, really!”

Illustration XVIII: The Rocket

From the film Stargate.

From the film Stargate.

Fiorello Bodoni has saved $3000 to send a family member into space, but only one can go. Which one?

“We will remember it for always, Papa. We will never forget.”

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In the end the last image is shown, our narrator’s death by the illustrated man. He runs for town, but will he make it?

Along came a spider morgan freeman running

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But the good kind of trauma.

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to She Struck Him as a Fixer-Upper, a Block of Clay Ready for Pygmalion’s Chisel: The Overnight Socialite

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For more on Ray Bradbury, go to It’s A Fan World After All

For more on aliens, go to I Can Make You all Go Away! Any Time I Want To!: Charlie X, Star Trek (1966)

For more bible verses, go to So You’re the Little Woman Who Wrote the Book that Made this Great War: Uncle Tom’s Cabin

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In The Exiles, they mention how no one believes in Santa Claus and he has become a shadow of the man he was, a skeleton in red. No more Christmas, no more.

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This reminds me of the song I Believe in Santa Claus. This was written by Maury Laws and Jules Bass and used for the Christmas Special, The Year Without a Santa Claus.

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I never believed in Santa Claus, but I like this song as it reminds you that no matter what happens you must hold on to the spirit of Christmas.

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No matter what, always believe in its goodness and love.

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This song was performed by Mickey Rooney and Ron Marshall

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For more on The Year Without a Santa Claus, go to A Baker’s Four Dozen

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