February 28, 2013

Highlighting: Do You or Don't You?

I've read lots of blogs in the last few years. Mainly bookish ones and one thing that seems to get mentioned a lot is quotes and highlighting/underlining them. Honestly I never used to write in books (at least after a certain age when I grew big enough to realize mom didn't appreciate it and I could get in trouble).

(Potentially even get in trouble from dad. And his head thumps were way worse than mom's disappointed look. But that's neither here nor there.)

Yet I read a great many bloggers who spoke of writing and underlining in their books. The first couple times I read it, I remember thinking that was interesting, but I couldn't see myself doing it. Why would you want to mark up your book that way?

Well.....HA to that! Because do you know what happened? (Come on. I know you know. You know I know you know. I know you know I know you know and....oh forget it.)

ANYWAYS, what actually happened was I got a Kindle. And if you have one, you probably know what I'm about to say. It has this handy-dandy little feature called highlight (I know, original). My point being is that I now had the awesome capabilities of highlighting words and phrases and paragraphs (and sometimes whole chapters!) in my stories.


Now granted, I don't highlight every single thing.(Truth!) But it is so much fun to read a certain sentence, fall in love with it, and highlight it for easy reference. For even easier reference, it also stores all my highlights in a separate file. So when I desire to find a certain quote, which I know I've highlighted, I can go to My Clippings and easily find it! Cool huh? I think so.

But perhaps you don't think so? I admit I still don't do much writing in my real books, but it does happen occasionally. My Kindle has corrupted me! Oh the horror!

(Also I find it really fascinating that it will store quotes even if the book is no longer on my Kindle. I figured if the book was deleted, the quote would be too. But nope, still there.)

So what about you? Do you highlight or underline or just generally write in your books? Or is that a big, huge NO to you? A hideous travesty that must remain nameless as if it doesn't exist?

Perhaps you're like me and use it on your ereader? (This is me assuming other ereaders have the same ability as the Kindle. Or at least something pretty similar.) What say you gentle readers? Want to weigh in and tell me what you think?

Pretty please? I'm so terribly curious!

Regardless, I though I'd leave you with a quote I've highlighted (naturally) which kind of expresses how I felt the first few times I highlighted anything in one my books. :)
"Wobbly as I was, I felt ready for anything-in a tentative, baby-steps kind of way." ~Alyssa Goodnight

Toodle-loo kangaroos!

February 27, 2013

A Wandering Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. When were you last facing an ocean? Using just ONE word, describe how you felt as you faced that ocean.

Last summer. August to be exact.


2. What are three sounds you hate to hear?

My alarm clock!!!
Car alarms

3. This question comes to you courtesy of some real life friends. Hi real life friends! When you shop for yourself, do you try everything on in the store before buying or do you buy, try on at home, and then return what you don't like or what doesn't fit?

I try it on at the store. I'd rather not make a second trip just to return something if I can help it. But sometimes I try it on, like it, buy it, get home, decide I don't want it anymore, and return it.

4. February 26th is National Pistachio Day...are you a fan of the little green nut? Do you use them in cooking and baking or prefer to eat them right out of the shell?

I'm not really a fan of nuts in general. So no pistachios for me. You can have my share! :)

5. When did you last have to compromise with someone? Were you happy to reach the compromise or slightly irritated it was necessary?

I actually can't remember a specific moment. Most likely there's something that happened at work. But compromises seem to happen all the time in life. It just comes with human beings because we all want our own way, but ultimately (most of us) realize that our way may not be the best always. Sometimes it's harder to do than others, but I don't think you can live life without giving this or that in order to obtain the bigger goal.

6. Have you ever written a letter to an elected official? Did you get a response?

No, I've never written to an elected official.

7. We 'March' into a new month at the end of this week...what's something on your March calendar guaranteed to make you smile?

My dad's birthday! I'm positive I'll smile when I call to wish him happy birthday. I'm smiling right now just thinking about him. :)

8. Insert your own random thought here.

This was how my week got started. Here's hoping that it ends without any further mishaps! :D

Okay, so Sunday morning I was all prepared to head to church at the usual time. At least I was prepared Saturday night when I set my alarm clock. But I must have been more tired than I thought because I ended up sleeping through my alarm and unable to make it to church.

Well.......I suppose technically I could have still went to church, but I had no desire to show up 30 minutes late. Because even if the back bench is empty, everyone still turns and looks at the latecomer. And I dislike being the center of attention, especially during church when it's all quiet and you can hear every creak of the door and shuffle of the feet.

Anyway, we have the ability to call in and listen to the sermon over the phone if we want. Which is what I did. So I call the number and start listening and guess what the topic was?

Slothfulness and being lazy! :-/

Yes, you read that right. Of all days to oversleep, huh? I had a good laugh and when I went to my cousin's house for lunch, they got a kick out of it too. I suppose that's what I get for too many late nights. (It was an excellent sermon, just so you know. One I enjoyed once my embarrassment faded. ;P)

I trust your week had a lovelier start than mine did! :D

Toodle-loo kangaroos!

February 26, 2013

Literary Heroines - Anne Shirley

Who doesn't have a favorite literary heroine? Whether from days of yore or from this current century? Heroines come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and we all have at least one who has gripped our heart and refuses to let go. You know, the unforgettable ones. The ones that stand out in your mind and when you think of a great story, their name immediately pops up. Whether you have a love of reading or not, I'm positive somewhere along the way, some book was read to you or you watched an adaptation, and you fell in love. I imagine that surely this has happened to everyone at least once. And if you're a reader, it's possibly happened lots of times! :)

Today I want to talk about one such beloved heroine from literature whom I love dearly: Miss Anne Shirley!

As I was thinking about heroines and who my favorites are and why they are my favorites, of course Anne immediately came to mind. How can you not love her? But as I thought about it, I realized I'd never really analyzed why I like her so well. So this is my attempt at explaining my love for Anne with an 'e'. :)  (I can't promise that it will make total sense outside of my brain, but I'm going to do my best!)

As Matthew says, "She's such an interesting little thing." She talks a mile a minute and her vocabulary is amazing! That's actually one of the first things that I remember about her. Her "bosom friends", and "kindred spirits", and her love of big words in general.
"People laugh at me because I use big words. But if you have big ideas, you have to use big words to express them, haven't you?" 
Anne does love words and her creative use of them to explain any and every thing around her is wonderful. Her colorful phrases draw you in and make you want to know more about this girl and who she is.
“My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.”
And where else would she learn such words? Through her love of reading of course! Anne is certainly a reader and loves to learn. She grasps onto things quickly and they become a part of her. This leads to her enhanced vocabulary and vivid imagination. She simply soaks in everything around her. She uses her imagination to enjoy stories and books but also to enjoy life itself. I don't think you can read her story and not be reminded of how awe-inspiring even the little things around us are. Like trees and plants and rivers. Anne takes note of them all and desires to romanticize them, yes. But also she truly appreciates all that life and this world have to offer. Her youth was so devoid of warmth and love that she had to look for it elsewhere.
Dear old world', she murmured, 'you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.”
That fact alone endears her to me. She took what was essentially a horrid childhood and refused to become horrid because of it. All you have to do is read the second chapter where we first meet Anne. Here she is, an orphan who's been treated very roughly thus far in her eleven years, yet her first words say nothing about that. She instead chooses to focus on that lovely cherry tree that she wants to climb up in and what she imagined Prince Edward Island and Green Gables would be like. Her imagination takes her out of her dismal world and puts her in a glorious and wonderful place. Even though it's only in her mind, the mere fact that she chooses to look at the bright side, when she's known nothing but clouds, is really incredible.

Yes, I know she's a fictional character! But I just love that Ms. Montgomery made Anne so unique and lovable right from the start. She spends a great deal of time talking, but you hear her story in all that she doesn't say. It's beautifully done, in my opinion. And her imagination, her capacity for love, her cheerfulness, her big words, these are all part of who Anne is. She grows up during the series, but she never loses what makes her essentially Anne.
“There's such a lot of different Anne's in me. I sometimes think that is why I'm such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn't be half so interesting.”
All who come into contact with her (excepting Mrs. Thomas and Mrs. Hammond) cannot help but be drawn to her and want to befriend her. She grows on you, the reader, very quickly also! I don't know how Ms. Montgomery ever imagined her into being, but I'm so thankful she did. Anne Shirley sets an incredibly high standard for heroines that I enjoy. There's no one else quite like her and that's certainly okay with me! One Anne is really all we need. And I aim to enjoy her and her story for a long time to come. Because that's another beautiful thing about her, no matter how this world changes, we will never outgrow Anne. No matter your age or what your favorite genres are, Anne Shirley will draw you in and make you wonder how you ever existed without her! ;D

 Toodle-loo kangaroos!

 “Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”

February 25, 2013

Review: The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen

The Tutor's Daughter
The Tutor's Daughter

About the Book:

Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father regain his spirits when his academy fails, agrees to travel with him to the distant Cornwall coast, to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But after they arrive and begin teaching the younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen and danger mounts. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte, only to find the music room empty? Who sneaks into her room at night? Who rips a page from her journal, only to return it with a chilling illustration?

The baronet's older sons, Phillip and Henry, wrestle with problems--and secrets--of their own. They both remember Emma Smallwood from their days at her father's academy. She had been an awkward, studious girl. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her.

When the suspicious acts escalate, can the clever tutor's daughter figure out which brother to blame... and which brother to trust with her heart?

My Thoughts:

This story was as excellent as the rest of Ms. Klassen's books! She truly has a wonderful handle on the language and behavior of regency England. She states in her bio that she loves all things Jane (as in Jane Eyre and Jane Austen) and she clearly shows that in her writing. This particular story seems closer to the Bronte sisters than Austen though, with all the mysteries that are abounding. And there is plenty of mystery surrounding the Weston family, which Emma gets thrown into pretty much upon arrival at the manor. The setting is fabulous. With the cliffs surrounding the manor both awe-inspiring and dangerous, and the manor itself having many wings and rooms within which lie many secrets. The Weston family themselves are each quite intriguing and it takes Emma a while to figure out who is to be trusted and who isn't. Everyone isn't all they seem at first glance in this house. Ms. Klassen does a brilliant job of revealing a few secrets as we read along, while keeping some secrets a mystery yet revealing certain clues along the way. Just enough to make you read further to try and figure everything out. Yet this isn't a mystery story only. There is the subtle romance that builds quietly until things can't be denied any longer. Much like Ms. Austen's books, she keeps the romance light but trust me, it's still there. The moments that it does shine through are quite pleasant indeed! :D There is also Emma's friendship with another character that is so sweet and charming. And Emma is an interesting character herself. Having to deal with a continuously grieving father over the death of her mother while still grieving a little inside also, feels very real. Her love for her father and yet her frustration with his inability to move on is a near constant pressure inside her. She's also quite determined and stubborn when it comes to dealing with the things that are happening around her. She's used to being in control, and these things that keep happening are daily reminding her that she's not as in control as she thinks she is. Her struggle is understandable and we root for her to finally surrender herself to God. And her lists! I don't make near as many lists as she does, but I do like them, so I really enjoyed that particular quirk of hers. And so does a certain other character who just doesn't want to admit it! ;)

This is a well-written story that, while clearly reminiscent of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters, very clearly has it's own story to tell and own world to draw you into. If you enjoy Austen and/or the Bronte's, you should absolutely read this one. 

A Fun Passage For You:
"Intending to ask the boys about the toy soldier, Emma took it upstairs with her after breakfast. She placed it on the schoolroom desk and resumed her cataloging. She found herself reading too much and organizing too little but reminded herself there was no hurry. Kneeling before the schoolroom shelves, she spied a thin volume that had become wedged in the back of the lowest shelf. Since she was alone, she leaned forward to reach the book, her bum projected in a most unladylike manner, to carefully extricate it without damage.
A dry chuckle disturbed her concentration.
"Well, well. Miss Smallwood. And just as I remember her."
Prickles of embarrassment and dread rippled through her. She recognized that voice."

Toodle-loo kangaroos!

February 24, 2013

Where in the World...is Your Comfy Reading Spot?

Where in the World are you Reading
This is a lovely little meme run by Trish, Lisa, and Kailana (where the link-up is located). Go check out where everyone's been reading this month!

This month's theme is : Comfy Spot

And where is my comfy reading spot you may wonder? I'm so glad you asked! Eureka, I have found it! (Yes, I do know that's redundant.)

Why yes, that would be my bed. With pillows to prop me up for maximum comfort level. (Which is extremely important when you're reading!)

Of course the Dr Pepper pillows must be placed one on top of the other so I have the perfect height for resting my elbow. Periodically, these pillows will switch from my left side to my right side. Whichever needs the most support at the moment. Which, as a point of fact, changes while I'm reading. I start by leaning on my left side usually, but after a little while, my right side is feeling left out, so then the pillows switch. And so on and so on. This probably sounds strange, but it's just the way it seems to work for me! :)

Sometimes a blanket will cover me, sometimes a fan will be blowing. All depends on the weather. The only thing that doesn't change is me heading there whenever I can, picking up my current read, and settling in for a wonderful time.

Where's your happy place for reading? Do you require pillows or a blanket or perhaps usually have a visitor of the cat or dog variety? Do let me know. :)

Toodle-loo kangaroos! Happy reading!

February 23, 2013

Little Letters Second Edition

Dear Almond Blossoms, you're late! Friends visited last weekend hoping to see you, and you hadn't arrived yet. What are you thinking? Don't you know how much we all look forward to you each year? (Well, except for the allergy-prone.) We need your cheerfulness to brighten our days and encourage spring to come! Get on that, won't you?

Dear Scarf, you were one of the best purchases I made last fall. I've had so much fun wearing you this winter! But I'm ready for wintertime to be over and spring to arrive. Your delightfulness is lovely, but I want to stop freezing on my way to work in the mornings. I'm ready to wear sandals again!

Dear Lizzie Bennet Diaries, how is it possible that you get cuter each week? Even with all the drama, I can't stay away. I'm sad that you're pretty much on the final arc but I can't wait to see how you finish! So I'm a conundrum of emotions. Keep being awesome! And don't mind me over here in the corner trying to blink away the water drops from my eyes. I'm not crying! My eyes are just watering. It's allergies I tell you! Allergies!

Dear Downton Abbey, you like putting us through the ringer, don't you? And yet I still come back every single time. I suppose I'm a glutton for punishment. You're simply too addicting for my peace of mind. I do enjoy your stories all the same. Thanks for the laughter and the TEARS. But just so you know, that was a horrid way to end the season.

Dear Ben and Leslie, you beautiful tropical fish. Every time I think you can't possibly get more adorable and perfect for each other, you go and prove me wrong.

Dear Rainbow Rowell, you had me at "All you can really do is read to them and read around them, and hope that reading is like chicken pox, that they’ll eventually succumb to it with enough exposure."

Dear Kindle, I love you. Truly. But not enough to give up on print books. I SHALL NOT BE OVERTAKEN!!! (But seriously, you make traveling with hundreds of books really handy.)

Dear Tea Class, do you have to be over so soon? We've only just begun! I'm not ready to say good-bye. *big sigh* The history of the English's love of tea is quite fascinating though. I could have listened very happily for another hour or two. Our teacher was wonderful, his memory of stories and facts is amazing; when can I take the class again?

Dear Benton, you are an inspiring young gentleman! Your faith and love and especially your persistence, are such an encouragement to me. For a seven year old, you are wise beyond your years. This cancer will not own you, your heart and soul are God's. Know that I think of and pray for you often. Your stories this week bring tears to my eyes and I feel so humbled by your courage. God is good, no matter what the future may hold.

Dear Weekend, I'm so glad you are here! My emotions have been up and down during this busy week. I'm ready for a relaxing time at home. And my little cousin's birthday party. Yay for family! :D

**Dreaming Under the Same Moon
**The Freckled Fox

Toodle-loo kangaroos! What's your week been like?

February 22, 2013

Libraries and Miss Joyce

btt button This is today's question: (and yes, I do realize it's Friday)

How often do you visit a library? Do you go to borrow books? Do research? Check out the multi-media center? Hang out with the friendly and knowledgeable staff? Are you there out of love or out of need?

Well, how often totally depends on the week and how much reading I've gotten done. But usually I check out a big stack of books and then don't return until the day they're due. I always have the idea in mind that "I'll totally finish these before they're due this time!", but inevitably I'm down to the wire getting them returned. In fact, I'm rather thankful that the library closest to me has a drive-up return box! (You know, for those late night returns after the library is closed. Come on. Surely you've done this at least once? Right? Or is it only me? :)

I only go to borrow books. By the time I've looked down all the aisles I want, I've usually been in there an hour or more and am ready to go home.

So I am obviously there completely out of love! Who doesn't love the library? If you're a reader I mean? You get to read as many books as you want for free! I don't know whose idea it was to invent libraries but I sure wish I could tell them how awesome I think they are! :D

I live in a bigger city, so I have two libraries pretty close by. Three actually! The one just down the street is amazing, but it has really odd hours. As in only open one evening a week and only for an hour. It is open on Saturday's for forty-five minutes in the afternoon. It's open during the day also, but as I work I can't go then, so I don't pay attention to those hours.

As for the staff at these libraries, I don't really know them. There's just too many people, it doesn't make for good opportunities to chat.

But when I was growing up, I'd go to the library once a week. (Once I could drive myself I mean. Before that, mom didn't take me every week, but pretty close to it. She likes to read too.) And yes, you read that right. Once a week. I had no social life evidently and spent every available moment either reading or going to get more books to read. My bedroom floor was always covered with library books.

And then there was Miss Joyce. She ran the children's story hour and was an amazing woman. She actually just passed away a couple years ago and I was so sad to hear it. (She was quite young.) The local paper did an article about her and I found out she had only started at the library not too long before I was born. So that's why all my memories of the library always feature her. She was always there and always had a moment to say hi to any children desiring to talk to her. That library will never be the same without her.

Libraries and librarians are important! So here's to libraries everywhere and the wonderful people who keep them running. Whether a county library or a private library, I hope they continue for years and years to come. And keep giving bookish children (like me) a comforting place of refuge! :)

Do you use your library? If so, how often do you go? And were there any special librarians who made your visits exceptional like Miss Joyce did for me?

Toodle-loo kangaroos!

February 20, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge With A Cherry On Top

1. When were you last 'on a mountaintop'?  You may answer in the literal or figurative sense.

Last week actually. A couple of friends from out of state were visiting and I had no idea they were here. I got an invite for supper one evening and it was so fun to see them! There were only five of us and we chatted and giggled and laughed the whole evening. It was so good to renew our friendships again. Friends, whether far or near, are a fabulous blessing in our lives! :D

2.  Do you establish and maintain a strict budget in your household?  What is one piece of financial advice you would offer someone just starting out on their own?

Unfortunately not as strict as I wish I were. It's something I'm still working on actually. My advice? Try to save as often as you can. Even if only a few dollars every week or every month, it will soon add up.

3.  Cherries-yay or nay?  Cherry pie, cherry cola, black forest cake, or a scoop of Ben and Jerry's Cherries Garcia...pick one.

Fresh cherries are certainly a yay! It helps to have a cherry pitter that will take the seed out and leave the rest of the cherry intact for eating. :) Not a big fan of cherry pie though or ice cream, so I'll choose the black forest cake.

4.  Should you ever discuss religion or politics with people you don't know?

I suppose you can, but very carefully. If you have a strong conviction on something, you should feel free to say it, yet in a way that is respectful of them and their convictions or opinions and won't offend or push the other person away (at least not on purpose).

5.  When you take a road trip do you prefer to be the driver or the passenger?  Where were you headed on your last road trip?

The passenger unless we're driving on a really crooked or curvy road (in which case I may get a little car sick so prefer to drive or at least sit up front to watch where we're going. For some reason that helps.) My last road trip was over to the ocean for the weekend last summer.

6. If we peeked inside your closet, what color would we say is most prevalent?

Orange. But I have lots of bright colors in general: yellow, orange, blue. I'm a cheerful color kind of person. :)

7. Who's your favorite senior citizen and why are they special?

Well, I would say my grandmother, but she's passed on now and I assume you'd prefer the answer be someone still living. So, I'll go with a dear friend. (I don't know if she is technically a "senior citizen" but she is old enough to be my mother. In fact she shares her birthday with my mom.) She is special to me because she is always cheerful and has the most giving spirit of anyone I know. I can't count the times her and her husband have helped me out and given me advice and just been there with a listening ear. And I know she does the same for countless others. Her home is always open for baby-sitting or food-giving or prayer time for whoever is in need at the moment. I can also guarantee that she'd deny that she does anything spectacular, but as a recipient of her love and care, I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is a very remarkable woman who allows Jesus to shine through her in whatever she does. She's absolutely one of my favorite people ever! And I feel very blessed to count her as a dear friend of mine. :)

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

Some friends and I got together last night and watched the finale of season 3 of Downton Abbey. I had read some spoilers, so I knew what was coming. But this picture below fully explains my feelings after watching it! Sniff sniff. ;)

We had a fun little party though. A couple of the girls had made some scones and we had little cucumber sandwiches and chicken sandwiches. And of course we had tea in pretty little tea cups. :D After watching the episode, we then spent a considerable amount of time rehashing our feelings. (You know how women are.) So now, I'm still a little sad but, as they are fictional, I'm not too horribly broken up about it. It is a soap opera after all, and drama goes along with those sorts of things. All in all it was a fun season at Downton as always and our party was a success! So we came out great in the end. :D

Source: herblog.com via Kara on Pinterest

Did you watch it? What did you think? 

Toodle-loo kangaroos!

February 19, 2013

Review: The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

The Last Dragonslayer (The Last Dragonslayer, #1)
The Last Dragonslayer

About the Book:

In the good old days, magic was indispensable—it could both save a kingdom and clear a clogged drain. But now magic is fading: drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets are used for pizza delivery. Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians—but it’s hard to stay in business when magic is drying up. And then the visions start, predicting the death of the world’s last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. If the visions are true, everything will change for Kazam—and for Jennifer. Because something is coming. Something known as . . . Big Magic.

My Thoughts:

This story was a lot of fun! Mr. Fforde's writing did take some getting used to, I will admit. But once I got the hang of it, I enjoyed myself immensely. Jennifer has a good head on her shoulders, but she doesn't realize her true potential yet as we follow her along this strange path and wonder where it's taking her. She's a great character! No matter her confusion, no matter the pressure from outside sources, she always stays true to herself. And I loved the Quarkbeast! It was like a giant, overgrown puppy, except a puppy who can easily swallow you whole. Yet it can be very gentle and loyal and it loves Jennifer. That's the thing, she inspires everyone around her to like her. Well, with a few notable exceptions, but we won't count the bad guys opinions. :) There's a lot of interesting characters in this world that Mr. Fforde created. Some are just as they seem, and some have hidden qualities, but they all have a part of Jennifer's story, and help make her destiny happen just like it's supposed to. As is quoted often, the future is not written in stone for these people, so it can be changed depending on the choices they make. Thus we get thrown into the middle of Jennifer's world and immediately deduce that we're off on an adventure! The thing about this book is, you can't go into it expecting some deep, thoughtful analyzing to happen. It just won't work. It's not meant to make sense in reality, it's simply a whimsical little story full of unconventional and quirky people who do some peculiar things. You're going to have a wonderful time following the conversations and interactions of each of the characters. Like I said before, Mr. Fforde's writing is different, but in a good way. Not one of the characters ever responded quite like I expected them to.

Overall, this is just a really delightful little story. Great for a couple hours of entertainment and escape from real world worries. A clean and fun adventure that I think even young teens would enjoy. Try it yourself! :)

A Fun Passage:
"Dragons, like four o'clock tea, crumpets, marmalade, and zip-up cardigans, are a peculiarity to the Ununited Kingdoms. They are fierce, fire-breathing creatures of great intelligence, dignity, and sensitivity who could and did converse on matters of great importance. But for all their intelligence, wit, and social graces, dragons still had one habit that made them impossible to ignore."
"And that is?"
"They liked to eat people."

Toodle-loo kangaroos!

February 18, 2013

Literary Heroine Blog Party - 2013

 photo Lizzie410pxLHBP2013_zpsdfdbbf84.jpg

{Kellie over at Accordion to Kellie is having a Literary Heroine Blog Party for the next week and a half. Plus an awesome giveaway! Click over to check it out. Lots of great things up for grabs!}
Literary Heroines. When you hear that term, what's the first thing that pops up in your brain? Several different ladies come to my mind, each for this reason or that reason. Which is why I'm planning to have a few posts on some of my favorites and why I like them so much coming up in the next week or so.

See, here's the thing. When I thought about all the following questions, my answers kept getting longer and longer and longer (you know I like to blather a lot) until I decided it would be waaaayy easier on everyone to give simple answers today. Then save my long thoughts for separate posts.

You're welcome.

So be on the lookout! :)

In other words, come back to visit in a day or two if you'd like to read more about my thoughts on these wonderful ladies!

Or not.

Anyhoo, on to the questions. (Be warned-there's a lot.)

1. Introduce yourself! Divulge your life's vision, likes, dislikes, aspirations, or something completely random!

 Hi! *waves hand* I love to read. Always have actually, I can't remember a time when I haven't. Happily for me my mother loves to read also and always had stacks of books around. So there was usually something to pick up whenever I wanted. (Especially when my mother didn't want me to, like when she needed me to unload the dishwasher or vacuum.) Yellow is my favorite color. Also I don't like bacon. Love ham and sausage and other kinds of pork, but refuse to eat bacon if I can get away with it. How's that for random?

2. What, to you, forms the essence of a true heroine?

Someone who has enough quirks to make them feel real, who has a heart full of wonder and joy at the beauty of the world and the people in it, who goes through adversity and comes out stronger on the other side, and who has a story to tell that doesn't ever grow old.

3. Share (up to) four heroines of literature that you most admire and relate to.

 Anne Shirley {Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery}, Anne Elliot {Persuasion by Jane Austen}, Judy Abbott {Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster}

4. Five of your favorite historical novels?

Persuasion by Jane Austen, The Colonel's Lady by Laura Frantz, The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen, Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster, Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

5. Out of those five books who is your favorite main character and why?

Judy Abbott from Daddy Long Legs. Her drawings! Her descriptions! Her openness and friendliness yet being so stubborn! I loved her from the first moment I read her story and through countless re-reads, I've yet to tire of her. :)

6. Out of those five books who is your favorite secondary character and why?

It's hard to limit it to just one, but I suppose I'll go with Admiral Croft from Persuasion. He doesn't get a whole lot of page time, but his thoughts just come right out of his mouth and I love him for it. He's such a good man, and I really like his wife also. I can just picture Anne and Wentworth getting along with the Crofts splendidly through the years.

7. If you were to plan out your dream vacation, where would you travel to - and what would you plan to do  there?

 I had a Latin teacher in high school that had been to Italy several times. Her enthusiasm rubbed off on me and I still have a desire to go to Italy some day. No particular plan really, just for sure want to visit Rome. After that, I'm willing to see whatever I can. :) Also I'd love to visit England one day and walk where Jane Austen walked.

8. What is your favorite time period and culture to read about?

England in late 1700s to middle 1800s. You know, Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell's time period. :D But I do read a lot of contemporary fiction also.

9. You have been invited to perform at the local charity concert. Singing, comedy, recitation - what is your act comprised of?

 First of all, I cannot stand to be the center of attention in a large group, let alone on stage! But in my head, as long as I wouldn't actually have to do it, I'd probably sing. I think I'm a halfway decent singer. I certainly couldn't do comedy. I'd be so nervous, either the joke would fall flat on its face or I would. Or both!

10. If you were to attend a party where each guest was to portray a heroine of literature, who would you select to represent?

 I'd love to say Anne Shirley, but sadly no red hair for me. So I would probably go with a Jane Austen girl (any of them) because I've always thought it would be fun to wear one of those kinds of dresses. :)

11. What are your sentiments on the subject of chocolate?

 I'll take it! When are you sending it to me?

12. Favorite author(s)?

Jane Austen, Julie Klassen, Laura Frantz, Sharlene MacLaren, Janice Thompson, Erynn Mangum, Lisa McKay, Susan Meissner, Siri Mitchell, Sherwood Smith, Sarah Dessen, Jennifer Rogers Spinola, Megan Whalen Turner, Stephanie Grace Whitson, Camy Tang, Susan May Warren, Stephanie Perkins

Hey, you asked. (And that's not nearly all of them!)

13. Besides essentials, what would you take on a visiting voyage to a foreign land?

 Books, more books, and.....well you get the picture.

14. In which century were most of the books you read written?

 I mostly read ones that were written in my lifetime. (Which covers two centuries you know!) (No I'm not 200 years old, but I was born in the 20th century and we're now living in the 21st century......)

15. In your opinion, the ultimate hero in literature is…

 The ultimate? I suppose I'll have to be different and say I can't pick just one. There are many I love and they each are just perfect for the heroines they choose.

16. Describe your ideal dwelling place.

 It has to have loads of bookshelves filled with lovely, lovely stories.

17. Sum up your fashion style in a short sentence.

 Casual and comfy. (Emphasis on comfy! I'm a far cry from being a fashion plate.)

18. Have you ever wanted to change a character’s name?

 Yes, I have. I do know that authors probably spend a great deal time coming up with just the right names for their characters, so I would never actually make a suggestion to the author to do that. (That would just be rude!) But in my head, there are some names that I just can't seem to like. They do grow on me sometimes. And they have NO bearing on whether I like the character themselves.

19. In your opinion, the most dastardly villain of all literature is...

 Yeah see, I have a dilemma again. There are lots of villains I don't like. Really, any villain who doesn't get a believable redemption by the end of the book or series, I never do like them. Especially if they are responsible for keeping a beloved pair apart!

20. Three favorite Non-fiction books?

Front of the Class by Brad Cohen, Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, Love at the Speed of Email by Lisa McKay

21. Your duties met for the day, how would you choose to spend a carefree summer afternoon?

 Reading. (I know. I'm predictable by now huh?) Although, if it's summer I'd prefer to do the reading out of doors.

22. Create a verbal sketch of your dream hat - in such a way as will best portray your true character.

 Oh gracious. I don't know. Perhaps something floppy and squishable, that would pop back into shape easily if sat on or stashed in my purse or closet. Preferably with yellow on it somewhere or somehow. Not quite sure what that says about my character..........

23. Share the most significant event(s) that have marked your life in the past year.

Probably the most significant one is the ongoing one. My mother has Parkinson's Disease, has had it for around 20 years or so. But the last four have been the hardest as our family watches her go downhill quite fast. Four years ago, she could do everything for herself. Now she uses a wheelchair or scooter everywhere and needs help with almost everything. It's hard. Really hard. But God is faithful and I'm thankful to still have her around to talk to.

 I've mentioned it a few times on here, so I hope any regular reader isn't tired of hearing about it. If so, I'm sorry. It's just such a big part of my life and my thoughts, that it's hard not to mention it.

24. Share the Bible passage(s) that have been most inspiring to you recently.

"And God's peace shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
Phil. 4:7 amp

Toodle-loo kangaroos! Thanks for sticking with me til the end. :)

February 16, 2013

Little Letters First Edition


Dear Book, why haven't I finished you yet? You're sitting on the floor of my bedroom calling out to me and I just ignore you. I already started your first few chapters, enjoyed them very much, and yet got distracted by other things. I will return to you!

Dear Blog Buddies, thanks for always clicking over here. Seeing your names pop up in my comment section inevitably makes me smile! Whether we agree or disagree on our book love, I like y'all a lot. :)

Dear Tea Class, I missed you last night. I can't believe I only have one more week left. I've learned more info about tea than I ever imagined, but it's so much fun! Can't wait to see what next week will hold.

Dear Bunco Ladies, it's that time of the month again! Once a month never comes quick enough, even with how busy we all are. I'm so ready to see y'all again and catch up on our conversations. It will be fun to hear about the trip you've taken, how your children are growing too fast, what great recipes you're using, how frustrating your students can be, and how fun it is when family from out of state visits. I love our conversations about everything!

Dear Cody, why must you bark every single time someone walks by outside? Do you realize how annoying that can be? And when I go to scold you, why do you look at me so sweetly so that my heart melts and I can't do anything but pick you up and cuddle you a little? You know perfectly well that you've got me wrapped around your paw!

Dear Bed, you are so comfy. I have a hard time getting out of you in the mornings. I especially love my Saturday mornings when I can be lazy and curl up under your covers. Whatever the weather, your covers are cozy. No other bed holds a candle to you, which you remind me of everytime I come back from an overnight trip and can sleep well again.

Dear Extreme Pita, your sandwiches are awesome! But you shouldn't be so close to my house because it's too easy to stop by really often. Already salivating for my lunch and I just had you the other night. You are my favorite place to eat. Plus you have awesome people working for you! We'll see who I get to chat with today. :)

Dear Readers of Mine, it seems there are a few of you out there who read my thoughts. I know I'm not the most eloquent person ever, but I sure appreciate you stopping by here or reading in a reader. I hope you enjoy my posts! I tend to babble on quite a bit, so thanks for sticking with me. Leave me comments sometime so I can get to know you. If you want. I won't be offended if you don't. But I do hope you stick around and grow with me as I'm still figuring all this blogging stuff out. And truly, thanks for even noticing my little corner of the web. :)

**Rissi at Dreaming Under the Same Moon introduced this little idea to me. Go check out her letters. :)
**Also Emily at The Freckled Fox! :)

Toodle-loo kangaroos! Happy Saturday!

February 14, 2013

A Pinteresting Valentine's Day

Source: etsy.com via Kara on Pinterest

Happy Valentine's Day! Whether you're single or have a significant other, I hope you're Valentine's Day is awesome. I actually don't have any plans myself. But I'm not complaining!  :)

Have a great day and eat some chocolate. Everything's always better with chocolate around. Or if things are already going well, then chocolate will just make it more splendiferously terrific. :D

I thought I'd share some pins I've found that made me laugh and hopefully you will too. So that's your only warning that the rest of this post will be pictures. Enjoy!

Source: imgfave.com via Renee on Pinterest


Who doesn't love to eat?

Again with the eating. (I'm sensing a pattern.)

Source: slowrobot.com via Tessa on Pinterest

Point is definitely made. :D

How very, very true.

Also very true. What about you?

Source: gocomics.com via Kara on Pinterest

Yay for librarians! :)

I think this is going to be me. ;)

And now I'm off to enjoy my own Valentine's Day. 

Toodle-loo kangaroos! :D

February 13, 2013

Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

For Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #1)

For Darkness Shows the Stars

About the Book:

It's been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family's estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot's estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth--an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret--one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she's faced with a choice: cling to what she's been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she's ever loved, even if she's lost him forever.

My Thoughts:

A futuristic re-telling of Jane Austen's Persuasion? As soon as I heard that description, I knew I'd want to read it. Why then did I wait so long to pick it up? I have no idea, but I want to smack myself. This story is incredible! I think one thing that made me hesitate was I had tried reading the first couple of chapters, and they just didn't draw me in like I was hoping. In fact, it took several chapters before I was hooked. But I did enjoy the set up simply because it was fun to try and figure out who each character represented from Persuasion. There were a few that took a little longer, but mostly I would read and think, "Oh! That's Harville!" or "That's Benwick!" and so on. Ms. Peterfreund did a marvelous job adapting the Austen novel into her futuristic world. Like Anne in Persuasion, we spend a great deal of time in Elliot's head. She is such a strong and responsible young woman. We realize that while she has regrets, she also has heavy responsibilities on her shoulders. These responsibilities help us understand why she made the choice she did, four years ago. Kai though, he doesn't understand and has been nursing a bitterness against her, which he gladly tells her pretty much as soon as they meet again. Oh those two silly people. Misunderstandings abound between them, but once we finally get to that wonderful letter (yes, that letter!) we are cheering for them to finally see one another clearly. Letters have been a part of their relationship from the beginning, in fact we get a few chapters consisting of the letters they exchanged over the years, and it's fitting that such a lovely one is part of their story now. I was hoping Ms. Peterfreund would do it justice and she did not disappoint. So heart-meltingly wonderful. You should read this story just to get to it, because it's so perfect and right and.....sigh. I can't explain it, it needs to be read! :)

But this story is so much more than just a re-telling. It is its own story also and one that you don't realize is coming. So there I was, reading along and enjoying all the references to Persuasion and then suddenly there came a twist I was not expecting! I had to go back and read it again, it surprised me so. But in a good way! I won't spoil it for you, but it was definitely a unique plotline. Once I read that, there was no way I was putting this book down until I found out how Ms. Peterfreund was going to bring it all together. Which she did beautifully. If you've read Persuasion, I'm pretty sure you'll like this one. If you haven't, I'm pretty sure you'll like this one anyway. It really is just that good! :D

A Passage For You:
"He waved his hand. "Don't worry a bit. The sun-carts make great time when the weather's as clear as today's. Even my horses could hardly keep up. We haven't seen a flicker of your father yet, but your sister Tatiana's been, ah, entertaining us while we waited for you."
Elliot could only imagine. Well water perhaps, from tin cups? She wouldn't put it past her sister.
"Come in and meet the Fleet," he said, bustling her into her own house.
"The whole Cloud Fleet is in my parlor?" Elliot asked with a smile. "Very impressive, sir."

Toodle-loo kangaroos! Happy reading! :)

A "Love"-ly Wednesday Hodgepodge

1.  This week marks the beginning of Lent...will you be giving something up or adding anything to your life during this season of the year?

Nope. Not planning on it at this point in time.

2. The day before Lent is Shrove Tuesday... tradition states you eat pancakes on this day. In some parts of the world Shrove Tuesday is actually known as 'pancake day'. How do you like your pancakes? Or don't you?

I love pancakes! And my favorite kind is cinnamon. Mmmmmm. But back in VA on a certain weekend in October every year, a firehouse has a pancake breakfast that my family usually went to. (They still have it I believe, but I haven't been in years. That's what I get for moving out of state!) There were huge crowds of people there, meaning we stood in line a long while, but the pancakes were always worth it! It's probably the sentimentalist in me, but I don't think any pancakes taste as good as those. I have such great memories of those Sunday's in October. :)

3.  I'm sure there are many, but what's one love song you really love?

Yes, there are several. But I do really like "Save the Last Dance For Me" by Michael Buble

4.  What are some things you do to let others know you love them?

I tell them. Often. (For example: since I live so far from my parents, I end every conversation with "I love you".) I talk with them and spend time with them. Just being there for them, whenever I am able. Sending a note or card just because. Lots of things! :)

5.  Roses...red, pink, or do you prefer another color? Can you recall the last time someone gave you flowers? Given your choice would you like to open the door and see a dozen red roses, a dozen purple tulips, or a dozen pink peonies?

For roses I'd probably prefer red. Given my choice, I'd open the door to see a dozen gerber daisies! They're my absolute favorite flower. I'd prefer them in yellow or orange, but any color is beautiful. The last time I received flowers was a couple years ago on my birthday. I had the day off work, so I didn't hurry out the door first thing. But when I headed to lunch with friends, I opened my front door to see a huge bouquet of flowers sitting on our front sidewalk! My dear friend had dropped them off the night before and there they sat so bright and cheery. It was a wonderful surprise. :)

Aren't they beautiful? She knows me well! They were the best birthday present. :)

6.  President's Day will be celebrated in America next Monday. Does US Presidential history and trivia interest you?  Many Presidential homes are open to the public and offer guided tours...Monticello (Jefferson's home), Mount Vernon (Washington's home), Montpelier (James Madison's home), Hyde Park (FD Roosevelt's home) and The White House (home to the sitting President) to name just a few. Of those listed which would you be most interested in touring?  Why?

History of any sort interests me! :) I've been to Monticello several times. (It helps to grow up in VA and thereby be a popular field trip spot.) Also toured The White House once, although it was years ago, so I wouldn't mind going back there again. Surprisingly, I've never been to any of the others. I wouldn't mind going to all of them someday. Do I have to pick just one? Can't. Sorry.

7.  Are you good at keeping secrets?

I like to think so.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

So I don't know if you've ever played Bunco before? It's a dice game that women play (not trying to leave the men out, but it doesn't seem like a guy game to me ;), and I'm actually in a group that meets every month. It's all close friends of mine and a lovely excuse to leave men and children at home for one evening and catch up with each other again. Life gets so busy that friends can tend to take a backseat if we're not careful. :) Anyway, Monday evening I was a substitute for another group. One of the ladies couldn't make it, and it's nice to have 12 people to play. I went and had a grand time! Even though I was the young squirt there, as all the rest of the ladies were at least 15 to 20 years older than I.

I have this much to say about those lovely, lovely ladies. They like to play bunco! Oh my stars! I knew I'd have fun, but I wasn't expecting the oldest ladies there to be the loudest at cheering when they got a great roll. Believe me, there was nary a quiet moment the entire evening. I think I spent the whole time laughing. These ladies know how to have a good time! And I love it! :D I hope I'm half as awesome and cool as they are when I grow up. :)

Toodle-loo kangaroos! I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day. :)

February 10, 2013

Review: Picture Perfect by Janice Thompson

Picture Perfect (Weddings by Design, #1)
Picture Perfect (Weddings by Design #1)

About the Book:

Feisty wedding photographer Hannah McDermott has dealt with her share of difficult brides. But none can compare to the ultimate Bridezilla she's dealing with now. Still, she's trying desperately to impress Bella Neeley, Galveston Island's most sought-after wedding planner, so she can take the top spot in Bella's list of recommended photographers--a spot currently occupied by her arch-rival, Drew Kincaid. What she doesn't count on, however, is falling head over heels for the competition. 

My Thoughts:

It was soooo good to get back to Galveston again! I loved the Weddings by Bella series, and it was wonderful to pick back up in Bella's life a few years down the road. Of course, we only see Bella's quirky clan from Hannah's perspective, but Hannah spends a great deal of time with Bella as they are working together. And since she befriends Bella, that means she instantly befriends the rest of the crazy crew, including the Splendora Sisters. Most all of the characters we loved from the first series make a visit or two here and there and it was terrific to see them again. I had forgotten how much Ms. Thompson's writing makes me laugh. Hannah's thoughts are just as funny as Bella's were! She is so relatable because who doesn't think one thing in their head but (realizing that it may not the best thing to say aloud) actually says something more appropriate? (And when those reactions include instant attraction to a certain competitor.....well.) She also starts out in a place of focusing a lot on herself and her perceived "problems", but with some time and great advice from her friends, Hannah learns to trust God more fully with herself and her life. And then there's Drew. I didn't think any other male could hold a candle to DJ's swooniness, but I was wrong. Drew's a keeper! He's a genuinely nice guy who just happens to be pretty attractive and quite fascinated with Hannah. But he also has to have lots of patience with Hannah, because as I said, she does have some things to work out. He's a patient guy though and he doesn't give up easily. That's another thing I really enjoy about Ms. Thompson's books, the hero is always worthy of being called a hero by simply being a nice, stable guy who will do what it takes to win over the girl. And it doesn't take much, believe me! ;) Also, Hannah is Irish, so there are lots of great quotes her grandpa Aengus used to say, along with several unique stories of the McDermott clan from her father.

There aren't any major surprises here, but just the loveliness of being back in the world of Galveston and all the enjoyable people who live there. You're guaranteed to laugh a lot and sigh over the fluffy and sweet romance and simply have an awesome time! This one is going on my shelf and staying there while I impatiently wait for book two. And if you haven't read Bella's series, then what on earth are you waiting for? This story can be enjoyed even if you haven't read the others, but there will be some inside jokes you won't notice that the rest of us did. Regardless, read it, read it, read it! :)

A Favorite Passage:
"Long, but my appointment with Bella went all right. I think everything's going to turn out okay with Sierra's wedding. I hope so anyway."
"Glad to hear it. You know what your grandpa Aengus would say right now, don't you, Shutter Speed?"
Um, no. but I have a feeling you're about to tell me.
"As you slide down the banisters of life, may the splinters never point the wrong way." My dad grinned and gave me a kiss on the cheek. "Remember, darlin', some banisters are slipperier than others. Just hang on for the ride, even if you do come in contact with a few splinters."


Why yes, I did get a signed copy from the author. Why do you ask? :)

Toodle-loo kangaroos! And remember "give a man a match and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life." ~via grandpa Aengus :D


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