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?

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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

Inner Beauty

Ugly

InnerBeauty

beYourself Beauty

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For more on Coco Chanel, go to You Only Get One

For more quotes, go to Growing Up is Hard to Do

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For our first of 25 carols, I am choosing It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas. I picked this mostly as it is true: Christmas decorations, wrapping, presents, trees; everything can be seen everywhere!

This song was written in 1951 by Meredith Wilson and has been covered numerous times, my choice being the fantastic Bing Crosby.

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For more Bing Crosby, go to Pot o’ Gold: 17 Irish Heroes

For more Christmas carols, go to O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

Preowned Perfection

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I don’t feel the need to have perfect books, brand new. I like books from all times of life. But I love a used book, thinking about what it might have gone through, whose hands it touched, etc.

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After all, I don’t value a book from what it looks like on the outside. It’s what’s on the inside that matters.

Or story in this case

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For more bookish posts, go to Jane, Jane, Jane: A Jane Austen Biography 

For more James Bryce, go to The Fans and the Furious

For more quotes, go to You Only Get One

Small and Proud

Big brain small boobs

I have little boobs. I’m a small person, in every direction, but you know what. I am okay with that.

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But I hate how it seems as if it is near impossible to buy a non-push up bra these days. I know I have little boobs and I’m proud. With me what you see is what you get. Aren’t there others out there proud and wanting to show their real side? Why can’t we accept reality instead of trying to make women some unporportionate fantasy?

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If you are a small girl, be proud! Little boobs rock!

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You don’t need pads, push-ups, or any extras to be beautiful. You already are, my small boobed sisters!

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For more musings of me, go to A Spot of Trouble

For more on beauty, go to Heart and Soul

For more Last Kiss Comics, go to Only a Woman: Queen of Outer Space (1958)

I Can See Your Beauty: The Breakfast Club (1985)

Romantic Moment #1

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The Breakfast Club (1985)

So one of my all time favorite movies is The Breakfast Club. I just love the story of how you have all these different people crossing social circles and befriending each other. It is something that could not be done today.

***Spoiler Alert***

So the movie begins one Saturday morning:

Breakfast club

It turns out that five very different students have been sentenced with detention. We have Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy), “the basket case” who just came for fun; Andrew Clark (Emilio Estevez), “the athlete”, who recieved detention for bullying a kid; John Bender (Judd Nelson), “the criminal”, sent there because of his acting up;  Claire Standish (Molly Ringwald), “the princess”, caught skipping school to go shopping; and Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall), “the brain”, who brought a flare gun to school. 

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In the beginning everyone abides by their cliques, Claire and Andrew sit together as they are on the highest level of the totem pole, while the rest sit amongst themselves. At first they keep their distance and Bender riles everyone, but through the course of the day they all bond together sharing their most personal secrets and working out their dysfunctions.

Allison feels ignored and therefore is a compulsive liar and a klepto, seeking out attention. Andrew hates his overbearing father who is always pressuring him. That is one of the reasons why he was bullying another kid, his father said he wasn’t being manly enough. Bender is abused by his father and ignored the rest of the time. Claire feels confined by the role she is in, as everyone sees her a certain way when in reality she has hardly ever dated and is a virgin. Brian feels so pressured by his family to be perfect and get into a good college, that he contemplated suicide over getting a bad grade in woodshop. Through these discussions, everyone feels much better and is much happier. But at the same time they feel sad and scared that once they are back in school Monday they will no longer be friends and things will continue as they have before.

Before the day ends, they hook up the sound system and have a big dance. Claire and Bender hook up and so do Allison and Andrew. Poor Brian gets stuck writing their detention assignment.

In the end Claire gives Bender one of her diamond earrings so they’ll never forget that moment. Allison steals Andrew’s Captain letter and the two kiss, while Brian gets nothing (poor nerdy guy). And the film ends with Bender’s triumphant arm thrust and Simple Mind’s Don’t You Forget About Me playing in the background.

Breakfast Club

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Most Romantic Moment

Now what I consider  the most romantic moment happens at the end. Emilio Estevez, and let’s face it, if you know me at all you knew that the scene was going to include something about him. I mean look at this gorgeous man!

Emilio! Breakfast Club

So at the end of the film, after their crazy dance party (of which I love watching Emilio dance); Claire notices that Andrew has been looking at Allison and she is feeling kinda bored and decides to give Allison a makeover.

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Claire pushes Allison’s hair back and does her makeup, but nothing too showy, mostly natural and she comes out. When she goes over to Andrew he is shocked at what he sees and says one of the most romantic things ever.

Andrew: [after Claire has given Allison a makeover] What happened to you?

Allison Reynolds: Why? Claire did it… What’s wrong?

Andrew: Nothing’s wrong… it’s just so different, you know? I can see your face.

Allison Reynolds: Is that good or bad?

Andrew: It’s good.

Breakfast Club

So romantic!

So romantic!

I mean I just absolutely love how he says “I can see your face.” He doesn’t say that that “you look hot” or “you look so much better than before”. What he says is that “I can see you even clearer than before.” And it’s not like this some new-flung thing. He was interested in her when they went to get the sodas, trying to get to know her better.  Later when she is sharing things about herself, he pays deep attention and defends her when the other people call her bizarre.

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But the best thing of all is just the fact that when he tells her that she is beautiful, he’s not saying she is beautiful because she changed herself, but that she was always beautiful and know he can see it even better than before.

beautyofawoman

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For more on The Breakfast Club, go to Heaven on Earth

For more on Judd Nelson, go to When Everything is Going Your Way

For more on the ’80s, go to In Love With the ’80s (Pink Tux to the Prom)

For more on Audrey Hepburn, go to O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

Perfectly Imperfect

 

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I agree. Nothing perfect is beautiful, it is those that are unusual and different that hold real beauty.

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Beauty can be fake, but flaws are real. And those are what truly make up who we are.

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Perfect is boring and I’m glad I don’t have any of that around.

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Yep.

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For more on Jane Austen, go to An Assembly Such As This

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads

Fashionably Postworthy

So a lot of people knock fashion down. They say that caring about how one looks is a waste of time and that one should only think about who they are on the inside. Now while it’s true that real beauty comes from within, you shouldn’t completely knock fashion.

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It’s true. A cute article of clothing can brighten your day. You can feel more confident, more together, and just all around amazing.

Damn hot confidence Lily HIMYM

And just because you are caring about how you look doesn’t mean you have to buy into the fashions of the day. You wear what you like. No matter what anyone else says.

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I pretty much only shop at thrift stores and people love my finds. People might not like what you are wearing and call you crazy, but you know what? All people with great ideas are considered crazy at first.

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It isn’t until afterwards that we recognize their genius and abilities.

Now the only thing to remember is to be careful when creating your own style that you still wear things appropiate to what you are taking part in.

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Because you might find yourself in a situation that your clothes just don’t fit right.

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But on a whole wear what you want, look good

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And always remember that no matter what:

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For more on fashion, go to Men What Happened?

For more on May Vanderbilt, go to Move Along

For more on  How I Met Your Mother, go to Fashion Show

For more on Professor Snape, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

For more on the Anne of Green Gables series, go to Unbound (The Wild Ride)

For more on Emma, go to Opening With…

For more of my favorite quotes, go to A Little Bit of Love

For more on ex-boyfriends, go to Unbound

First Impressions

PrideandPrejudice

So let’s talk about Mr. Darcy’s first meeting. He made several mistakes.

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Yes, you did. You made a to of blunders that really led to you demise in the public’s eye.

So we see that when Darcy is first introduced as being one hot guy.

“Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mein, and…having ten thousand a year…the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration…”

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That is until he showed how prideful he is

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“[Mr. Darcy] was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud; to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could save him…”

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1. Not Dancing

DancingNotforme Darcy Pride and prejudice

Now I am not big on dancing, I’m like William H. Macy in Wild Hogs

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But to people in Regency era dancing was an important thing. As a woman to be dancing it spoke of your beauty and possibility of marriage. Therefore Darcy giving a huge slight on the town  and the women as he danced with no one. It was like saying no one there was good enough for him.

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It also told everyone that they had no chance at all at gaining his heart as

“To be found of dancing was a certain step toward falling in love…”

Not good Mr. Darcy, not good at all.

Ouch

Ouch

But in his defense he only knows a few people, and it can be hard to dance in front of strangers, especially if you are dancing with a stranger.

“You know how I detest it [dancing], unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner.”

I know I couldn’t do it. Mr. Bingley tries to introduce him to people, but Darcy just shuts him down. True it sounds rude, but I believe that Darcy is just socially awkward.

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2. Pride

Mr.DarcyMoveAside Pride and prejuice

Yep, Darcy comes off as a regular tool, the way he acts above everybody else.

“he was discovered to be proud; to be above his company, and above being pleased…”

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He only dances two dances, one with Mrs. Hurst (Bingley’s sister) and Miss Caroline Bingley. He also only talked to the people within his party, declining to be introduced to anyone else.

How rude

“His character was decided. He was the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world, and everybody hoped he would never come there again.”

Good riddance

Good riddance

However, I’m going to play devil’s advocate here. It can be hard when you are in a new area. Sometimes you can come off being ruder than you mean to be.

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I used to be like that a lot. People would tell me they thought I was a snob before, and glad that they were mistaken. I never realized that my self-consciousness was giving off that kind of vibe. In fact I feel bad for Darcy, as for him it was the same way. He never realizes the way he may portray himself or the attitude he gives off until Elizabeth tells him.

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3. Slighting Elizabeth

Ooooh Darcy, this is where you really dig yourself into a hole.

“She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me.”

Ouch

Ouch

Sorry Darcy, I have nothing to say to defend you. You said such a cruel thing and she tells her friend and family. Her mother spreads the story around and Darcy, you’re coffin is sealed.

Good riddance

Good riddance

 

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So this clearly shows that we need to watch our actions and how we present ourselves to people. First impressions last a long time and take forever to overcome.

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Also that even though Darcy is hot and rich, its personality that will always win over as everyone was willing to forget trying to win his heart, once they felt his personality was a huge zero.

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Yep personality will always win out:

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And it’s a good thing for us that Darcy has a beautiful soul to go with his body. It just takes a bit of time for us and Elizabeth to see it.

Laurence Olivier Mr. Darcy

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For more on Mr. Darcy, go to It’s All Jane Austen’s Fault

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to Just Can’t Get a Break

For more on Elizabeth Bennet, go to How to Catch a Man

For more on first impressions, go to Happy Birthday Pride & Prejudice

For more on Regency Era, go to Definitely Not Mr. Darcy

For more on tall, dark, and handsome men; go to Gone Forever

For more on Maya Angelou, go to A Woman’s Heart

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Food, Food, Food!

For more on Wild Hogs, go to Part VIII: The Little Movie Lines List

For more on George of the Jungle, go to Episode VI: Return of the Favorite Movie Lines’ List

Insults

It’s like:

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This is how women want to be talked to:

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For more on The Swan Princess, go to You Should Write a Book

For more on Audrey Hepburn, go to Your Secret is Safe With Me

For more on fairy tales, go to Cinderelly, Cinderelly

For more non-Austen films, go to Forney Hull: Makes Stalking Adorable

For more of my fav quotes, go to Darcy’s Dream Date