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.
As this is Noir November #Noirvember, I thought it was no better time to talk about one of the top classic femme fatale.
I hate Christine, I think she was a horrid little urgh.
And I don’t use that lightly. First we see her all upset at Raul for being rude and condemning Erik
“Why do you condemn a man who you have never seen, whom no one knows about and whom you yourself know nothing?” (pg. 104)
But then she’s like I’m so scared of him. Aaah! She makes him sound evil, even though the story is hardly anything.
She heard this wonderful voice and begs him to teach her.
“From that time onward, the voice and I became great friends.” (pg. 116)
They spend years together as the phantom puts his all into teaching her and helping her. Then one day Christine spots Raoul and tells the phantom all about seeing him. And the voice disappears, Christine is anxious and scared. She knows she is nothing without him, she will shrivel up into a has-been.
The next day the Phantom comes and tells her he has to leave her.
“The voice was there, spoke to me with great sadness and told me plainly that, if I must bestow my heart on earth, there was nothing for the voice to do but go back to heaven.” (pg. 117)
You see, no threats. No harsh words. The Phantom would have simply backed off if she loved another. He would be heartbroken, but that would be the end of it. Except…
“I swore to the voice that you were no more than a brother to me nor ever would be and that my heart was incapable of any earthly love.” (pg. 117)
You see that!!!! You see that!!!
She purposely leads on the Phantom because she just wants to use him. She doesn’t love him, she doesn’t care for him, as she has stated before:
“[to Raoul] And that, dear, first revealed to me that I loved you.”
She knew, but she had a good thing and didn’t want to see it disappear. Now she tells Raoul that she “lied only because she thought she had no chance with Raoul.” But is that even the truth? She already admitted to playing the Phantom, she’s probably playing Raoul too. He’s rich and interested, and now she’s going to play the little helpless victim to catch him.
So you know what, I never feel sorry for her. She created this whole mess as she only cared about herself and not what her false declarations did to people. She almost kills hundreds because of her selfishness. I feel bad for the Phantom. Poor guy, who is completely crushed by her. He picked the wrong woman.
And she goes on about being captured by a madman and held prisoner, BUT he treats her well. He respects her as a thing of beauty and doesn’t harm her or touch her. And when she is upset and wants to leave?
“And, when I stood up, Raoul, and told him that I could only despise him if he did not, then and there, give me my liberty…he offered it…” (pg. 125)
See he isn’t a crazy killer or psychotic (yet). He loves her and respects her wishes. She’s the viper, she’s evil as she chooses to stay there.
“For he sang. And I listened…and stayed!” (pg. 125)
So she falls asleep and then wakes up in a whole different room, properly freaked. BUT then spots a note left to her by the Phantom.
“My dear Christine, you need have no concern as to your fate. You have no better nor more respectful friend in the world than myself.” (pg. 126)
He just let her alone, as he sees her as the kindest and most divine woman; respecting her. He also purchases tons of things for her in order to make the place truly home.
But Christine is not happy. She wants out. She is angry with the Phantom, even though she is packed with beautiful gifts. All she wants is to see his face as “no honest man would wear a mask.” But that is the one place Erik won’t give.
Then Erik mentions how most of her time with him will be musical practice. She is angry as he wants her to stay five days, then he will let her go again as she will either love him (hope) or pity him. But Christine is now upset that he won’t let her go now, but hey he offered you before.
The real issue Christine has with the Phantom is his skull-like face. This is what breaks her and makes her horrified and disgusted.She can’t live well enough alone, and asks him to play for her, plotting her deception. When he is too worked up in the music she snatches the mask off.
She tells Raoul this as each visit “increased her horror.”
Now what’s really interesting is after Christine has told her tale, Raoul asks her:
“You are frightened…but do you love me? If Erik were good-looking, would you love me, Christine?” (pg. 132)
And what does Christine say? Does she say NEVER, I don’t love him I LOVE YOU? No. Does she say that Erik is a horrible person, and she could never love him? No. Now what does she say?
“She rose in her turn, and put her two trembling arms round the young man’s neck and said: ‘Oh my betrothed of a day, if I did not love you, I would not give you my lips! Take them, for the first time and the last.” (pg. 132)
You see that!!! You see that!!! SHE NEVER ANSWERS THE QUESTION!!!! And you know why???!!! Because the answer is NO! She don’t love you Raoul, she’s using you just as she used Erik. She could have easily answered she loved you, but instead she deflected the question and gave you a kiss. I hate when people do that, urgh!
Let me tell you something, if you ever are having a serious and deep conversation with someone and they deflect you with a kiss, hug, sex, whatever, you need to get out of that relationship because they are not serious about you. Should’ve seen it Raoul, except you were to busy focusing on that kiss that you missed it.
Meanwhile, Christine, the little actress starts playing Erik to the areas he has been insecure. She tells him that he is genius, his music causes her to forget his looks. She even burns his mask to symbolize that she is “above” such things. In reality she is playing him from every angle, earning his trust so that he is willing to believe she actually loves him and won’t harm him. Letting her go.
Christine acts as if he is a true monster, but the Phantom has a compassionate heart. She asks if she can pretend to “be engaged”, playacting, with Raoul and the Phantom agrees.
“He said, ‘I trust you, Christine. M. de Chagny [Raoul] is in love with you and going abraod. Before he goes, I want him to be as happy as I am.” (pg. 134)
How can someone be unfeeling and a loser when they consider what their arch rival’s is feeling?
See Erik isn’t the monster, Christine is! She just goes and destroys two men’s lives-never thinking about them or how it affect them; all she cares is about her self.
Day 6) F is for Free: Choose a book you got for Free
Princess Nevermore by Dian Curtis Regan
Do you remember the Scholastic book fairs they used to have at school? I loved it. There were bunch of books at the school and in the catalog. Even though we couldn’t spend a lot, my parents would always buy me at least one item. No matter how many books I already owned, I could always use more.
Well if you bought so many and did a certain amount in school you were able to get a free book! I was so excited and picked out a ton of different books I wanted to get.
But my mom pointed out that the free book had to be $4.50 or under. So we looked through the catalog and it turned out that there were only two books that were eligible.
Yeah, what a scam! Anyways, out of the two books Princess Nevermore, intrigued me. I read it and quickly loved it!
Now one of the reasons I choose this book to include in the 30 day challenge is that is seems to be one no one knows about which I think is a shame as it is a great book and needs more attention.
Princess Quinnella, Quinn for short, lives in Mandria, a magical world that exists under our feet! Once they lived in the world of men, but had to relocate as magic with humankind wasn’t working out.
The only place to view our world from Mandria is in the wizard Melikar’s chambers. There he has a magic pool that gives the Mandrians a view into our world, but we cannot see into their’s.
Quinn has grown up dreaming and wishing to visit the other world. She and Melikar’s assistant, Cam, have conspired on how to get there.
Quinn feels as if time is running out as she will soon be sixteen: a woman, betrothed, and focusing on ruling her kingdom.
One day she is visiting Melikar when out of nowhere Cam comes crashing into her, his magic ring transporting him there instead of where he was desiring to go. Melikar tells Cam to check the magic book and see what is wrong with it.
Cam goes and gets an idea, he decides that now is the time to send them to outer Earth. He shoots Quinn a look, and she quickly catches on and distracts Melikar until it is too late.
“Anger, fear, love, and mirth.
Send Quinn and Cam to outer earth.”
The pool’s water comes down and surrounds Quinn dragging her up and over to the other side.
And just Quinn!
As you can guess Melikar is furious! Not only was Quinn sent into the other world, but there is no way to bring her back until she choose to return, a clause that Quinn has no clue off.
Yes, Cam was foolish and acted too quickly or else he would have realized that it was a bad idea.
In order to bring the princess back, she has to go back to the pool, wish with all her heart to return, and turn in the pool, stirring it. And the catch, the spell can only be done once and is strong only for a quarter moon, that’s seven days. If she misses her window, she will never be able to return.
The first thing they must do is buy some time, drugging the royal family so that they will sleep through most of time that Quinn is away.
Yes, like in Sleeping Beauty
Quinn find herself in the real world and is unsure what to do next. She always planned for her to be with Cam and them being able to visit the world, but return whenever they desired.
Then a girl comes across her path, one she sees daily coming to the pool and wishing for beauty. A boy calls out her name, Sarah, and she calls him Adam. Adam tells her they need to leave now as Mondo has declared it is time to go.
Quinn decides to follow them as they make her curious and she has no idea what else she can do.
She follows them onto a giant dragon creature, a bus, and is questioned by Sarah and her brother is surprised when Mondo recognizes that she is from Mandria and gives the sign of the Lorik, a symbol to seal an oath and mark of friendship in this case. Mondo takes Quinn with them to their apartment.
Quinn shares the history of who she is with Adam being surprised and completely taken with her; and Sara slightly jealous at her beauty and the attention Quinn is receiving.
The next day they head off to school, Quinn fascinated and lost and confused. At first Sarah is helpful and kind to her, but then when her long time crush shows interest in Quinn and continues to ignore Sarah.
Quinn and Adam grow closer as he not only teaches her about the world, but they begin to fall for each other.
However, while young love blooms; Mondo is not pleased with it. Quinn can’t understand why he would be so upset over it.
As for Quinn she finds herself wondering about Adam. He isn’t royal, but she could abdicate her throne for her cousin and live in the human world, them visiting back and forth.
It could work, like The Little Mermaid
Back in Mandria, Cam and Melikar have to take another into their confidence. Ameka, Quinn’s tutor comes to Melikar’s place and discovers Quinn’s disappearance. They grow worried as Quinn not only seems to not want to leave that world, but Melikar can sense danger coming as Quinn has the magic ring.
Quinn found the magic ring stuck on her dress and promised not to use it, unless absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, she used it to get pizza, zap Zach, and get apples for lunch. However, Zach senses that there is something weird about her and gets Sarah, who only wants to impress him, to ‘fess up about her cousin.
Halloween approaches and Adam asks her to the dance. Quinn is thrilled to go with him, but then Zach enters and the testosterone goes flying as he tries to bully them into letting him take Quinn. They decide to “duel”, Quinn choosing jousting.
Them’s fighting words!
As there are no horses in the city for the teens to access, Adam’s friend Roger develops a “modern day” jousting. Adam does well, but Zach cheats and wins Quinn as his date. Zach isn’t interested in Quinn, but wants her secrets of magic.
This is bad.
The day of the dance, Quinn tries to speak to a hurt Adam, but he manages to elude her at every turn. That night as she prepares for the ball, Mondo decides it is time to tell his story.
He was a nobleman and used to visit with Melikar, just like Quinn. He would look at the wishing pool and see a girl come everyday. He feel head over heels for her and asked Melikar to send him over. He promised to remain there for a few hours and bring her back.
Sadly, she never came so Mondo went in search for her as he couldn’t go back without her. He found her, but she wouldn’t leave so he remained above. The two married and had a son.
Yes, but that’s not the whole story. When Mondo arrived the year was 1830. One year in Mandria was three years on Earth. Mondo was happy with Hannah, even though she aged more rapidly than him. But he was only thirty-four when she died at the age of seventy. And while they had love there were a lot of issues with it. They had to move around A LOT, pretend to be mother and son; grandmother and son, etc. By the time he lost her, and his son as he left him with anger over his lack of aging; he thought about going back but it was too late with all the modern convinces to head back to the Middle Ages.
So now Quinn has a choice to make. Should she stay in our world or return home? Risk the lack of aging for her love?
And with Zach’s intentions, what will happen to her? Will she even be able to make that choice?
I’m not revealing the end as I thought it was too good. I loved this story and how the characters were and the ending. An ending I thought was better than Age of Adalind and all those other films that have a similar premise.
It is hard to find a copy of it, but try your local library. It is definitely worth a read.
So today’s carol I thought about how Quinn’s not sure if she will make it home, and settled on I’ll Be Home for Christmas.
I’ll Be Home for Christmas was written about and for the soilders serving overseas and wishing to be home with their loved ones. The song is supposed to be from the view of a soldier, asking them to get things ready, even though he isn’t sure he’ll be back.
It was written in 1943 by Kim Gannon and Walter Kent. No one would record it, as they thought it was too sad, until Gannon sang it to Bing Crosby who loved it. Bing Crosby was the first to record it, but it went on to be recorded by numerous singers.
Now I remember first hearing it be sung by a woman, not a man, and went with Karen Carpenter’s version.
So Wallace & Gromit was something that I remember watching a lot growing up. I mean who could forget their silly adventure to the moon to get more cheese in A Grand Day Out? Or when an evil penguin was controlling Wallace and Gromit had to save the day in The Wrong Trousers? They were hilarious and loads of fun.
I also loved Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and watched it on Halloween in theaters the year it came to the big screen.
So imagine my surprise when I found out there was more Wallace & Gromit cartoons! I had no clue until my friend showed them to me, and this was one I found hilarious.
So here we go, A Matter of Loaf & Death!
So we open up with a baker making some dough for a lovely pastry or bread.
When he is struck from behind and killed, his chef’s toque blanche; stolen. Now why would someone want to murder a baker?
I wonder what that was all about.
So in this episode Wallace & Gromit are bakers. Every time they have a cartoon/film they seem to be doing something different. I guess they like having all the experience?
There bakery is called Top Bun and doing very well, especially as the recent killings makes 12. The papers are full of the murder.
They decide to continue life as normal even though there is a serial killer out there targeting bakers.
As they start making their usual deliveries, they run into the Bake-o-Lite girl, Wallace’s long time crush.
All I can say is I hope this woman turns out okay, Wallace doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to women. I mean he is like Sam from Supernatural.
Her brakes aren’t working and she is heading down a huge hill!
Wallace and Gromit try to help her, Wallace jumping on her bike as she careens down toward the zoo right to the crocodiles!
Luckily Gromit saves them and the woman’s dog. She introduces herself to her saviors as Piella Bakewell and her dog Fluffles. Wallace is over the moon about meeting his longtime crush, while Gromit checks the brakes. They work just fine.
Wallace asks Piella if she still flys the Bake-O-Lite balloon, but sadly that is no longer a part of Piella’s life.
They say goodbye but Wallace can’t stop thinking about Piella, even making a bread bust of her.
The next thing you know Piella is at their door, asking Wallace to come with her. Sadly Gromit gets left to do all the work, as always.
Wallace and Piella’s romance continues to grow and grow, them even trying to redo the pottery scene in Ghost, with bread dough, but being unable to do it as Piella is too big.
Gromit is tired from picking up the slack and returns to the house one day and finds all his stuff win the garbage, Piella having redecorated the whole entire house. Almost like she is trying to get rid of him!!!
It makes Gromit furious!
Poor Fluffles, Piellas dog is horribly abused. She always shakes and more scared than life itself. She brings Gromit his stuff from garbage, but hurries off when Piella calls.
Getting out of here
This episode really makes me want some bread to eat. I’d love some right now.
Piella forget her purse and Wallace wants to return it but it is raining, I guess love only goes so far with some people.
He sends Gromit out, poor guy, who finds the door open when he gets there.He decides to do a little snooping and heads up the stairs. There he sees a room that shocks him!
A roomful of mannequins wearing toques and having numbers 1-13 on them.
The 13th one is missing a toque…
I wonder who that is for.
He finds her diary with baker boyfriends all crossed out. All but Wallace!!!! He’s next!!!!
Gromit quickly hides, but then Piella goes to bed, and Gromit is stuck in the room, in her chandelier, until he can escape.
The next day Gromit hurries to give Wallace the diary and show him what is going on, but Wallace is too oblivious. And to make matters worse, Piella is there! OH NO! Wallace and her are engaged to be married!!!! OH NO!!!!!
Piella steals the diary back from Gromit and throws it in the fire before Wallace can even see it.
It’s time to take this to the next level.
Gromit studies hard to incorporate cameras and all kinds of surveillance to stop Piella from killing his master.
Gromit has stolen all the knives and potential objects and hid them locked up in a shed. He even is trying to taste taste test Wallace’s food to keep him safe.
Piella bites herself
What a FREAK! And then blames it all on Gromit. Why would Wallace believe that? Like he would really just attack her like that instead of making something to boot her out.
Gromit is then given a muzzle and has to wash every single pot, plate, spoon, fork, etc.
Meanwhile, Piella then does what she can to try to kill Wallace but is thwarted by a bag of flour knocking her over.
Now I’m not sure if Fluffles did this or if it just happened. I think it was Fluffles.
Piella then freaks out! She screams that she hates bakers, bread, and throws the ring at Wallace’s face.
Victor Moritz: You’re crazy! Henry Frankenstein: Crazy, am I? We’ll see whether I’m crazy or not.
With Piella gone, Gromit is now in Wallace’s good graces. But Piella isn’t gone for long as she returns with a giant box and an apology. But she is without Fluffles.
What happened to her? Did she kill her?!!!
Piella gives Wallace a cake, probably a bomb. Gromit leaves to investigate what happened to Fluffles. When he gets to the house, he finds out that Piella has created a trap, Fluffles is fine but locked in a closet, so that is where she tosses Gromit as well.
Piella is ecstatic as now she has a complete set.
But Gromit and Fluffles have escaped in the Bake-O-Lite balloon.
Getting out of here
Wallace is trying to lit the cake/bomb, but fails at everything without Gromit. Wallace just manages to do it, and Gromit tries to put it out but can’t, Wallace stops Gromit from taking the cake, knocking it on the ground and realizes that it is a bomb.
Gromit gets the bomb and tries to toss it, but one window has baby ducks and the other nuns with cats! What to do??
Piella comes in and smacks Gromit with a giant spatula sending him into a huge thing of dough.
Piella is angry at all bakers! The reason she is killing them is because she ate too much of their yummy bread, making her far too heavy to be ride the balloon and be the Bake-O-Lite girl. She is about to smack Wallace and kill him…
But he is saved by…Fluffles?
Yep in an Aliens-like parody dog and master fight, accidentally knocking Wallace out the window into the windmill with the bomb!!!
Gromit is still stuck in the dough mixer and unable to lend a hand. But through his will he manages to free himself while Wallace gets back into the house, followed by the bomb! Gromit comes to help while Piella and Fluffles are still locked in a fight. All stop as Wallace is looking for the bomb, it being in his pants!
Piella jumps in the balloon but has forgotten one thing! Her weight.
Fluffles and Gromit work together to get the bomb surrounded by so much dough when it explodes, it does hardly does any damage. Piella flys away, but then starts to go down, right over the zoo and into the crocodiles lair.
Gromit invites Fluffles to stay, but she decides to leave. Gromit is heartbroken.
Wallace tries to console him, but it doesn’t really help. So they go off to deliver bread when who should be out there but Fluffles! She hasn’t left! She can’t leave as she loves Gromit!
This film is based on the book by E. M. Forster and is a favorite of my mom’s. In fact she had been wanting to own it for years and went on Amazon and ordered it all on her own. So proud of her being tech savvy. Anyways, as soon as she bought it we had to watch it. And I have to say it was better than I expected. You have a young Helena Bonham Carter and the always interesting and expressive Daniel Day-Lewis.
So onto the summary. So the year is 1908, Edwardian time. Miss Lucy Honeybunch (Helena Bonham Carter) is from Surrey but on holiday with her much older, restrictive, and buzzkill (for lack of a better word) aunt. As they visit the sights they meet Reverend Beebe, the two spinster Miss Alans, the author Miss Eleanor Lavish, the nonconformist Mr. Emerson and his handsome, philosophical son, George. Now these men are very forward thinking, with George especially. As Lucy and her aunt had wished for a room with a view, George offers his instead. Lucy’s aunt thinks that it is scandalous! But they are both convinced to take it.
George and Lucy are attracted to each other, and thanks to a carriage driver’s interference, George manages to score some time with her unchaperoned. While they are alone, he kisses her. As they are kissing, Lucy’s aunt comes upon them and stops it. She warns Lucy that this act could destroy her entire reputation and not only bring shame on her and her family, but also make it so that no one wants to marry her. They agree to keep the whole thing a secret and return home.
When they get back to England, Lucy becomes engaged to an old, boring sod: Cecil Vyse (Daniel Day-Lewis). She’s not super into him, but doesn’t abhor him. But then to her surprise George and his father take a cottage not too far away. As George tells Lucy how he feels, her feelings of interest come back.
By the end Lucy realizes how she feels and breaks off her engagement with Cecil, instead running off to Italy with George.
For me the most romantic moment is when George tells Lucy what he thinks about Cecil and how he feels.
George Emerson: He’s the sort who can’t know anyone intimately, least of all a woman. He doesn’t know what a woman is. He wants you for a possession, something to look at, like a painting or an ivory box. Something to own and to display. He doesn’t want you to be real, and to think and to live. He doesn’t love you. But I love you. I want you to have your own thoughts and ideas and feelings, even when I hold you in my arms.
I love that moment! He loves her and respects her individualism, thoughts, feelings, and emotions. He doesn’t want to control her, he doesn’t want her as a trophy; and for the early 20th century England? That’s HUGE! HUGE! Women weren’t treated as equals or individuals, but property! And here this guy loves her mind and everything about her.
I mean when he says intimately he means her whole brain and soul not just body. Oh George! What a man! What a keeper!