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?

I Want to Be Your Ideal Man: Grease (1978)

Most Romantic Moment #4

grease

I Love this musical. My best friend Carson and I were obsessed with it when we were eight years old. We used to watch it over and over, knew every song by heart, and could do the hand jive in our sleep. Grease was definitely the word.

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So the movie is set in the 1950s, you know one of my favorite decades.

dating1950

Sandy is from Australia and visiting the American beach for summer vacation (winter in Australia). She meets Danny is also away at the beach and the two meet and fall head over heels for each other. But Sandy has to back home, with both thinking they would never see each other again.

ActionItemLOVE

School’s back in session, and we see Danny is the hottest and coolest guy in school.

hot pretty sexy

He and his gang are ready to finish their senior year when he gets the biggest surprise of his life, Sandy is in school. Can this designated bad boy and good girl make a relationship work?

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

Throw in a car racing challenge, dance contest, Frankie Avalon, and amazing songs.

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Most Romantic Moment: I Will Do What I Can to Get You Back

So throughout the whole film we see that Danny is all about “his reputation”.

im-importantbigdeal

Sleeping around with girls, not caring about what happens to them but just using and losing…

See ya!

See ya!

However when he meets Sandy that changes. At first he tries to keep to his “tomcattin” ways, but realizes that’s not what he wants; he wants Sandy. But how to win her back?

Hmm...

Hmm…

As Sandy is a cheerleader, he decides to go out for a team sport going from greaser to jock. (Which was a big deal then. Remember Daryl in The Outsiders and how he was able to cross over into Soc territory if he wanted to because of football? Ponyboy too was offered that as well but he wouldn’t give up his cigarettes for track). But Danny doesn’t really mean it, he’s just doing it to try and win Sandy back at this moment. But because he doesn’t put his whole heart into it, he messes up again and again; ditching her for another girl to win the dance contest and giving her his “ring of commitment” in order to make out.

Men

Men

But none of these work, Sandy is a high quality girl and she won’t have some pretender, she needs something real.

settle

So Danny realizes that if he loves her, he needs to stop the pretending and kidding around. He is going to have to do something really drastic to show Sandy he truly cares about her.

So he decides to quit the T-Birds

OMG gasp

Now contrary to what some bloggers say, he is not just putting a “cardigan on”. The sweater is a symbol that he is completely changing his life. By changing the T-Bird leather jacket to the cardigan with his “letter for track” on it, he’s not only saying that he is giving up the “fast” lifestyle, the parting with all these other women, the reputation of never settling down; but that he is going to be something more stable and trustworthy. Something that she can rely on and that will be there for her.

Grease

As he tells the other boys, he grown out of that, and is instead looking forward to a future with Sandy, not just a “playdate”.

Danny Zuko: Oh c’mon you guys…You know you mean a lot to me…it’s just that Sandy does too. And I’m going to do anything I can to get her 

After all, what’s comfortable, can be worn anywhere, and something that makes you feel relaxed, supported, and warm…a leather jacket or a cardigan?

hey-girl-feel-my-sweater-know-what-its-made-of-boyfriend-material-quote-1

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To start Romance is in the Air:Part IV from the beginning, go to I Can’t Pretend, I Have to Be: Casual Sex? (1988)

For the previous post, go to Business is Business, But Your Happiness is More Important: Borrowed Hearts (1997)

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For more on Grease, go to Why Were You Driven Away?

For more musicals, go to Marry Me: Gigi (1958)

For more period films, go to I Choose You: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

I Can’t Pretend, I Have to Be: Casual Sex? (1988)

Most Romantic Moment #1

Casual_sex_poster1988

So you are probably wondering what am I doing watching this movie, well it wasn’t really the one I wanted. You see I was at Big Lots and they were having a 20% everything sale. That sounded great to me, so I went and looked around. I found a DVD set for $4, of which three were Michael J. Fox films and the other two were ones I had never heard of.

AWESOME!!!

AWESOME!!!

Well you all know how I feel about Michael J. Fox

wouldhavehisbabieslovehim

I love him, so this seemed like a deal too good to pass up.

So my friend and I were watching some of the films, when we decide to check out this one, Casual Sex?, as we both like Lea Thompson.

I have to admit this movie surprised me a lot. It was rated “R” but didn’t really show anything, you know nothing like Game of Thrones, and actually dealt with the issues of sex. How you can get diseases, pregnant, sometimes the person just wants you for the sex, how sometimes you get involved with a person and they turn out to be nothing like you expect; and how hard it can be to meet anyone whether you desire sex or a relationship. It was pretty good.

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So the film is about two women, Stacey and Michelle, who have not had the best luck in love.

ouch Hermione

Stacey is constantly falling for artists, of which she not only changes herself for them but they always leave her in the lurch.

Melissa has only been with two men, and the second one, her ex-fiancé broke up with her as he was “going through a selfish phase.” Ugh, Men.

Men&Mon

The girls decide to leave the LA area and head on some kind of getaway in hopes to meet the perfect man.

findperfectguy

They decide to head to a health spa in which they meet a variety of possibilities. There is Vinny “the Vin Man” from New Jersey who hits on everybody and is always talking about his “attributes.”

Person hate talking

Jamie, one of the spa workers who seems sweet and caring:

You're so cute

Matthew, a psychologist, who is looking for material for his newest book on psycho-sexual tendencies of pre-menopausal females.

Freud

And Nick, a fitness instructor who dreams of becoming a rock star.

BacktothefutureMartyMcflyrocknrollguitarsolo

Will the girls find the man of their dreams? Or will they be disappointed once again?

NevermeetamanIcouldLove

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Most Romantic Moment: From Vin Man to Vincent

So the most romantic moment comes from the most unlikely source, Vincent otherwise known as Vinny or the Vin Man.

Vincent is from New Jersey, a pre Michael “The Situation”. He is gross, annoying, and just doesn’t understand that women are not interested in crudity.

Men

Men

However, as he keeps striking out with the women, one of the spa instructors gives him a book, The Pretend You’re Sensitive Handbook.

midsomermurdersbookweapons

He tries it out on Stacey, but as she has her own stuff going on she wants nothing to do with it.

Vinny: Stacy, how nice to see you. Do you have a few minutes? I mean, it occurred to me, I don’t even know where you work.

Stacy: Where I work?

Vinny: Yeah, you know, your career plans, your dreams, your aspirations… I really want to hear all about them.

Stacy: What I want? I don’t even know — ask me what anyone else wants. Give me three seconds, I’ll figure out your whole entire life.

Vinny: Would you maybe want to share something with me about your childhood, perhaps?

Stacy: Vinny, what the hell are you talking about? I’m in a big rush. Look, I have to go talk to Melissa, because if I don’t figure out something about my life soon, I’m going to crack!

Vinny: I respect your strength, Stacy, and I think you’ve got a lot of potential!

After striking out once again, Vinny runs to the spa instructor and tells him that he can’t do this. He can’t pretend, he has to be it. He decides to leave, catching a ride with Stacey to the bus stop. There we see a look at the real Vinny as he asks Stacey for advice. He wants to have a real relationship with a woman; like a friendship but more, but doesn’t know what to do. What do women want?

confused

She doesn’t have the answers and drops him off at the bus station. We think that is the last of him, but then we are given this surprise.

Stacy: [reading] ‘Dear Stacy, I hope you don’t mind me writing to you…

 Yes, Vinny writes Stacy a letter and tells her about how his life has been changing. He wants to be a different person, but no more pretending, he’s going all the way. He starts reading books,

guysread

Cooking, changing his wardrobe to more appropriate clothing (and no more super “Vs” showing off the chest,

Deanwinchestergirlcrazysharpdressedman

Giving up all those aspects of the Vin Man and transforming himself, from the inside out, into a new person, Vincent.

CantChangethem

The sweetest, most romantic thing about this is that he made all these changes on his own, no “promise of getting the girl”, no other motivation than he wanted to be better and strove for it, turning himself from jerk to heartthrob. And once he feels his change is complete, he travels from Jersey to LA to see Stacy and prove that he is not only a new man, but ready for a real relationship.

casual_sex

swoon dreamy

What a guy!

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For more Valentine’s posts, go to Now That I’ve Met You, I Can’t Imagine Life Without You: Sabrina (1954)

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For more ’80s films, go to We’re in the Future: Goodbye 2015

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Over You

don't care

 

So here we are, another step on the “Getting Over a Heartbreak Series”. With:

Daughtry+-+Over+You+-+5%22+CD+SINGLE-412225

20) Over You by Daughtry

Daughtry is named after the lead singer, Chris Daughtry, one of the winners of American Idol (one of the few people who have gone on to do something.) In 2006, he and Brian Howe, music producer, wrote this song Over You. The whole concept of the song is that someone has been dumped and they are broken and feel that they will never love again.

neverfeelagain

But then, after you spend some time grieving that relationship you get over the person and move on.

“You’re with somebody for a really long time, and you pretty much think that this is the person you’re gonna spend the rest of your life with, and then they drop the ball on you. Then you think it’s over, your life is done, and then somebody better walks in.” -Chris Daughtry

foreverthesickestkidslifegoeson

 

So the music video is about a girl who struggles with alcoholism and ends up causing the death of her boyfriend. Afterwards, she goes to Alcohol Anonymous and gets over her addiction. I actually didn’t really like the music video, I thought it didn’t really evoke the song. But that’s just my personal opinion of course.

I really like this song after Move Along as it states how hard it is to move on. Up and Up and Red Rubber Ball are still moving on completely being 100% over that person, but aren’t quite there yet. Over You, however, is. It’s done and the person is over you.

Now that it’s all said and done,
I can’t believe you were the one
To build me up and tear me down,
Like an old abandoned house.
What you said when you left
Just left me cold and out of breath.
I fell too far, was in way too deep.
Guess I let you get the best of me.

DaughtryOverYOu

Well, I never saw it coming.
I should’ve started running
A long, long time ago.
And I never thought I’d doubt you,
I’m better off without you
More than you, more than you know.
I’m slowly getting closure.
I guess it’s really over.
I’m finally getting better.
And now I’m picking up the pieces.
I’m spending all of these years
Putting my heart back together.
‘Cause the day I thought I’d never get through,
I got over you.

DaughtryOverYOu

You took a hammer to these walls,
Dragged the memories down the hall,
Packed your bags and walked away.
There was nothing I could say.
And when you slammed the front door shut,
A lot of others opened up,
So did my eyes so I could see
That you never were the best for me.

Well, I never saw it coming.
I should’ve started running
A long, long time ago.
And I never thought I’d doubt you,
I’m better off without you
More than you, more than you know.
I’m slowly getting closure.
I guess it’s really over.
I’m finally getting better.
And now I’m picking up the pieces.
I’m spending all of these years
Putting my heart back together.
‘Cause the day I thought I’d never get through,
I got over you.

DaughtryOverYOu

Well, I never saw it coming.
I should’ve started running
A long, long time ago.
And I never thought I’d doubt you,
I’m better off without you
More than you, more than you know.

Well, I never saw it coming.
I should’ve started running
A long, long time ago.
And I never thought I’d doubt you,
I’m better off without you
More than you, more than you know.
I’m slowly getting closure.
I guess it’s really over.
I’m finally getting better.
And now I’m picking up the pieces.
I’m spending all of these years
Putting my heart back together.
Well I’m putting my heart back together,
‘Cause I got over you.
Well I got over you.
I got over you.
‘Cause the day I thought I’d never get through,
I got over you.

DaughtryOverYOu

After all:

wrongteachyaright

Eventually you’ll realize:

I don't know you

And that you’re through:

I'm through

And Over YOu

Over You

musicnotes

To start the “Getting Over a Heartbreak Series” from the beginning, go to If It Means A Lot to You

To go to the previous post, go to Red Rubber Ball

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For more of my favorite songs, go to Na-Na-Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)

For my favorite quotes, go to Up and Up

For more on American Idol winners, go to Since U Been Gone

For more on Forever the Sickest Kids You Know, go to Chin Up Kid

For more on Margaret Mitchell, go to Move Along