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)

 

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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

Fan-do or Fan-don’t. There is No Fan-try

So you all know how much I love Star Wars

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But I will not be taking about it today. Instead I will be talking about things I fandom over. Maybe this post will induce you to join me.

If you only knew the power of the Fandom!

If you only knew the power of the Fandom!

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7th Heaven

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What can I say about this show? Out of everything I ever watched or grew up watching; this was one of my favorites.

I love it

It is the story of a minister’s family, Reverend Camden, in small town Glen Oak, CA; and the trials, tribulations, fun, and everything in between that they go through.

One of the reasons why I enjoyed this show so much was because I am a preacher’s kid (p.k.), so I could completely relate to everything they had the characters go through. It was pretty real, except for the fact that the church has no youth group and the kids are never expected to help out in church.

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But the issues they face and the way the characters relate or rebel to the ministry; was spot on. The only thing I didn’t like was the last episode as it ended on a cliffhanger, and the last season was horrendous. They should have just stopped.

Stop stop it now!

If I had to pick a favorite character, when I was younger I loved Simon (David Gallagher). But now as an adult, I’m mad about Matt Camden (Barry Watson).

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He was hot, kind, smart, adorable, the perfect older brother, perfect boyfriend; just a total dream guy.

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And if you rewatch or watch the first season, he is the pre-Jared Padalecki long-haired, tall, handsome actor. Just check out that hairdo.

I was so sad when it ended as it just didn’t mark the end of a series, and characters I love; but it was such a huge part of my childhood. It is always hard saying good-bye to something like that.

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For more on 7th Heaven, go to She’s Still Preoccupied With 1985

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Series of Unfortunate Events

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To remember when this book came out? It was an amazing series and I just loved it. I enjoyed how their was always good out of bad and the whole mysteriousness surrounding the V.F.D.

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I even went farther than just reading the series, but going as far as reading The Beatrice Letters and The Unauthorized Biography of Lemony Snicket.

I loved the series up to #10, The Slippery Slope, but after that the book was horrible. And when the revealed everything in #13 The End I was so disappointed.

But like 7th Heaven this was a huge part of my childhood, and I was so sad when it ended. However, I will be passing this on to my nieces and nephews.

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For more Lemony Snicket, go to I Hate Those Kinds of People

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Sherlock Holmes/ Sherlock

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So I am a HUGE fan of Sherlock Holmes mysteries, I’ve been reading them since I was a child and watching almost every version created. What can I say, I love Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

 

Go here to see who your biographer should have been.

Go here to see who your biographer should have been.

So my friend loved this TV show and tried to get me into it. I had started watching it, but saw the first episode on TV and thought it wasn’t quite right in how I picture Sherlock.

So I waited a few years, and then decided to watch it from the beginning. From there I realized it was pretty good. 

I love it

I thought that all the episodes were great except A Scandal in Belgravia, Irene Adler was just too weird.

But Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman were just perfect as Sherlock and Dr. Watson. I liked how Sherlock was a bit more rambunctious and impulsive, as his age and the wisdom that comes with it haven’t been reached yet. I liked how Dr. Watson was more active; not always instantly catching on to what was happening but taking part in trying to help solve and protect Sherlock.

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For more on Sherlock, go to England Dreamin’ On Such a Summer’s Day

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Sleeping Beauty

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I mentioned quite a few times how much I love this movie. I think it is a great plot, Aurora is an amazing character, and Prince Phillip the perfect prince.

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In fact I loved this film so much I was Aurora twice for Halloween, and my sister and I used to act it out all the time. I would be Aurora:

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And she would be Maleficent.

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We would have to have Barbies or stuffed animals be the rest.

One of my favorite songs/scenes is Once Upon a Dream. So one of my favorite scenes from this movie is when they sing and dance to Once Upon a Dream. I remember I used to act this scene out by myself and with my barbie dolls. It was the first song I have ever memorized extremely quickly.  I used to sing this song ALL THE TIME. Just couldn’t stop.

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Yep, just one amazing film.

For more on Sleeping Beauty, go to Waiter, There’s Some Disney in My Jane Austen

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Spider-man

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I am a huge Spider-man fan. I grew up watching the Spider-man hour in which the showed Spider-man and His Amazing Friends along with the ’90s cartoon. I loved that cartoon as it totally and completely captured everything I love about Spider-man. The sass, the fact that he is constantly struggling to go to school and provide for his aunt, trying to have a life and friends while be a super hero. Dealing with all this responsibility.

From this I moved to the comics and become a major fan and nerd.

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I have read the Spider-man Encyclopedia like 20 times. I own the ’60s (and best) comics. I just love this guy!

If he existed.

If he existed.

None of the films have really done him justice (I hate Andrew Garfield), but Spider-man will always be one of my major loves. And guess what? He’s perfect for me!

To see who should be your superhero BF click here.

To see who should be your superhero BF click here.

Yep he’s one of the best superheroes ever!

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For more Spider-man, go to Oh What A Night

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I’m hoping that this will rise in you a desire to check them out.

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For the previous post, go to The Strange Case of a Fangirl and Her Fandoms

And Stay tuned for part 22

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For more Peter Pan, go to A Pirate’s Life is the Life for Me

For more Disney posts, go to A Little Monkey Business: Chinese New Year

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In other news, this is my 700th post!

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Only took five months to reach this milestone.

For the 600th post, go to There Are Thirteen Chairs at the Table…And That’s Unlucky: Mystery of the 13th Guest (1943)

For the 500th post, go to Fantom of the Opera

On the 10th Day ‘Til Christmas: Merry Christmas from the Austen Novels

On the 10th Day ’til Christmas my blogger gave to me

The Lovely Jane

A Jane Austen Birthday Wish!

For those of you who don’t know, today is Jane Austen’s birthday. If she was alive today, she would  be 237 years old. I know it’s not a Christmas-y movie, but what kind of Austenite would I be if I completely ignored the fact that it is her birthday on my blog?

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Jane Austen was an amazing woman who faced all kinds of adversary. Her father was a minister, and while well off to begin with, they ended up losing most of their money living in poverty. She fell in love with a high class man, and wanted to marry him; but his family intervened and sent him away. She was given another opportunity to marry a wealthy man that would have saved her and her family from destitution, but  she couldn’t marry him. She continued to wait for her true love; although he never walked back into her life. Her first book she ever wrote, Northanger Abbey (then called Lady Susan) was published post-mortem. Her second novel and the most famous, Pride and Prejudice, was turned down several times before being published. In fact, it was published after she wrote her third novel, Sense and Sensibility.

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Austen wrote not only great stories that have stood the test of time, but wrote about real issues and her more radical thoughts/philosophies, that wouldn’t be as easily accepted if spoken in person. In Northanger Abbey, we are all delighted as the main character is someone we can easily connect to. We all feel like Catherine at times in our lives, hoping that we will have an adventure and meet a dashing hero.

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This idea of a girl wanting the life of a novel, and ending up living one is later used and recycled in films such as Romancing the StoneAusten also pokes fun at all the social graces and little customs one must abide by, even though they are silly. It is a satire on societal rules and the gothic novel itself. However, it is a great book and one of Austen’s favorites.

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Pride and Prejudice  has so many things that are amazing to it. First of all parts of it are taken from her own life-a middle class poverty line woman falling for a high class man. Unfortunately she didn’t get the same ending. But Pride and Prejudice has such wit and wonderful lines; there is a reason why it is referenced in everything, has had a ton of movies and TV shows, spinoffs, vlogs, blogs, etc. I love it because the characters are so real. Elizabeth and Darcy are everywhere in the world. I’m a Darcy myself; every time I read it I always feel for him. But more on our shared traits later. I’m also an Elizabeth, they way she treats Darcy and others, when reading that its like looking into a mirror.

Go here to see who you are.

Go here to see who you are.

Emma, well I already stated that she and I have a lot alike. Sister’s amor hating you, a guy who won’t stop following you around. In my case 3), a friend who has a trifecta of boys rejecting her, deciding to become a spinster, and has meddled in friend’s love lives…need I go on? There are probably many of you out there who have had similar experiences. Not only that, but Jane Austen was able to share her own ideas of spinsterhood and how being a spinster who could care for one self (like Jane was able to in her writing) was nothing to look down on or pity. Austen said she was going to make a character that only she would love, but Emma has become beloved by all. Just like her modern counterpart, Cher from Clueless, there is something about that girl that is just lovable.

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Mansfield Park, while it isn’t my favorite is still a great read. We see a woman, although she is meek and timid through most of the novel, isn’t afraid to say no to a “a good thing”. *Spoiler Alert stop reading now if you haven’t read the book* When Henry Crawford asks her to marry him, even though he is rich and could save her family from destitution, she says no. She holds out for her number one, even when threatened to be kicked out of the Bertram house. Very Austonian there. She even continues to be kind and nice to all around her, even though they constantly use and abuse her. She is a true heroine, very Uncle Tom, never turning to hate or anger.

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I know I could never do that; Aunt Norris would have been punched in the eye already.

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But Fanny continues to be good, and when everyone else’s lives fall apart; she is there to help all pick up the pieces. The whole guy being blinded by the wrong girl, is also very real, I’ve had two friends like that.

Sense and Sensibility, deals with the line between expression. I liked how there is the question of whether too much of either is bad and how much does one need? We have Marianne full of sensibilities, wearing her heart on her sleeve; but we see this gets her into trouble as she expresses too much, before anything is promised to her.

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Elinor, expresses nothing, being purely intellectual and sensible; but this causes her to almost lose the man she loves.

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While both sisters are the best of friends; their extremes cause the other to never fully know their sister. Marianne can never see what Elinor is feeling and makes all these assumptions about a “frozen” heart. Elinor on the other hand, never imagines that Marianne has any sense as she assumes she is solely governed by feelings. I liked how the sisters were never privy to each others complete secrets as I feel this is realistic. I can see myself and my sister in these.

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Persuasion, is one of the saddest novels that Austen wrote, because even though it ends happily it was pure wish fulfillment. *Spoiler Alert stop reading now if you haven’t read the book* Anne is persuaded by her friend to not marry her love. He ends up leaving but returns, and after a series of misunderstandings the two are reunited. Austen always hoped that her love would return just like Captain Wentworth, but he never did.

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She also uses a strong irony in this as Anne was rich when she turned down poor Wentworth, but when he returns Anne is poor and Wentworth rich. I simply love this book because it seems so real, how the characters react and treat each other are the emotions they actually would. Austen also does a great line about women being portrayed as a “femme fatale” so often as men are the writers of these novels; therefore the view is biased. Great book to check out.

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Austen lived only 42 years, but changed the history of the novel with her great works. She has changed my life and I hope you give her a chance to influence yours. Happy Birthday Jane!

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Now to tie this into Christmas:

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The very first day that [James] Morland came to us last Christmas–the very first moment I beheld him–my heart was irrecoverably gone.”

-Northanger Abbey, pg 142

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I sincerely hope your Christmas in Hertfordshire may abound in the gaieties which the season generally brings…”

-Pride and Prejudice, pg 122

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I remember last Christmas…he danced from eight o’clock to four, without once sitting down.”

Sense and Sensibility, pg 30

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If they were at home to grace the ball, a ball you would have this very Christmas.”

-Mansfield Park, pg 262

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At Christmas every body invites their friends and thinks little of even the worst weather.”

-Emma, pg 97

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On one side was a table occupied by chattering girls, cutting up silk and gold paper; and on the other were tressels and trays, bending under the weight of brawn and cold pies, where riotous boys were holding high revel; the whole completed by a roaring Christmas fire…”

 Persuasion, pg 80

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So there you go! Merry Christmas!

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To start the 12 Posts of Christmas from the beginning, go to On the 12th Day ’til Christmas: The 12 Men of Christmas (2009)

For the previous post, go to On the 11th Day ’til Christmas: The Santa Clause (1994)

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For another Northanger Abbey post, go to Mr. Tilney’s Dating Tips

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to On the 12th Day ‘Til Christmas: The 12 Men of Christmas (2009)

For another Sense & Sensibility post, go to Let’s Hear It For the Boys

For more on Emma, go to By George He’s Perfect!

For more on Mansfield Park, go to Part IX: Adventures in Movie Lines

For another Persuasion post go to A Fredrick Wentworth Sighting