River of No Return

A book club choice for the month of April!

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The River of No Return

Author: Bee Ridgway

Published by: Plume in March 2014

Blurb:

Two hundred years after he was about to die on a Napoleonic battlefield, Lord Nicholas Falcott wakes up in twenty-first-century London. The Guild, a secretive fraternity of time travelers, informs him that there is no return. But Nick yearns for the beautiful Julia Percy, who remains in 1815. As fate and the fraying fabric of time draw Nick and Julia together once again, the lovers must match wits and gamble their hearts against the rules of time itself.
Rich in romance and historical detail, Bee Ridgway’s debut is a thrilling, fast-paced narrative evocative of Deborah Harkness’s time-bending bestsellers.

My take on it:

Just imagine that suddenly without warning you jump in time and end up in a completely different time era where social customs, economics, politics, and culture are completely different from what you’re used to, (not mention the change in technology). You’ve left behind a life and a family and find instead that you have an extrordinary talent that allows you to play with time? This novel takes your through just that. I thought this story was really well done. The plot was exciting and wasn’t too far fetched to make sense. With all the twists and turns it had me second guessing as to who was the “good guy” and who was the “bad guy”.

For the most part I really liked it. I rated it 3 stars out of 5. There were a couple of times when I wasn’t sure if some of the character’s actions made sense with their personality and who they essentially were, but they were fun and witty characters. The only warning I have on this book is that there is some language and sexual content. Sometimes you can tell by the cover and a bit of the blurb. There was no indication that there would be sexual content until about chapter 5, when I realized what might be coming. By then I was hooked on the story, so I kept reading. (This spurred an interesting book club discussion on what is considered “clean” and how to tell what you were getting into etc. Between us we have those who would not read it at all because of sex or language content, those who can handle a little bit, and those who enjoy it just fine. To each their own, and it makes for interesting conversation either way.) Finally, the ending was a bit quick. Well, never fear, there is going to be a sequel, hopefully that will answer the unanswered questions. River of No Return is Bee Ridgway’s first novel and she has actually written a prequel call The Time Tutor. So if you read this book and want more you can check that out while you look forward to the next book!

A Favorite quote from this novel: “No man is a man until he is made weak by a woman.”

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Break or Bust!

11159988_1114568288558595_7905315451612873399_nI didn’t get much reading done last week…….though this was my view on the very last day of my mini vacation, our Annual Girls Weekend away. Oh, how I look forward to this! Between the 6 of us fabulous ladies we have 21 kids, ha! I firmly believe that every once in awhile mom needs a little break. I love my family for sure and I spend day in and day out with my children and husband making sure our family functions. I wouldn’t have it any other way, but it is refreshing to have time to just be Randi. We need a little time to take care of ourselves so that we can have the energy it takes to take care of everyone else.

When we go on this girls trip I am pretty sure we turn back the clock on years of our lives because some how we magically turn into teenagers again! We certainly act like it anyway and I don’t regret one second of it. Its a blast! We always say that it’s a “No schedule”, “no rules”, weekend. We don’t have to get up at any particular time (which is good considering that we don’t go to bed at any decent hour either). We eat out at fun places, and if we’re grabbing to go we can stop as many places as we want to get everyone’s choice covered. We shop for ourselves *gasp* without being in a hurry. On this trip we decided to spend one day doing fun stuff in Las Vegas since it wasn’t too far of a drive. Sooo fun! We watch movies and play games and laugh until we almost pee our pants. We continue to build these friendships and learn more about each other on each long drive down and the days and nights in between. These are some the best ladies! They are so fun and such great women and I am blessed to have each of them a part of my life!

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I came back home happy to hug my children and husband (bless his soul for supporting my time away and holding down the fort!) and refreshed to get back to the daily grind tomorrow! Until next year! I hope other moms take the opportunity to get some TLC in when they can. I’ll be posting more again soon.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Before writing Clockwork Angel, Cassandra Clare wrote The Mortal Instruments Series : City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, and finally City of Lost Souls, which I read back in 2012. So this series, The Infernal Devices, the prequel, has been on my to-read shelf for a while. It’s my advice that if you haven’t read the first series you should! It’s a good one! However, it doesn’t matter which one you read first because though they are about a similar race of people, ‘Shadowhunters’ to be exact, they are set during separate times and are about different characters.

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Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Published by Simon & Shuster, Margaret K. McElderry in August 2010

Blurb:

In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them…

My Take On It:

I had great fun reading this book! It’s been a little while since I read the other series and I enjoyed diving back into the world of the ‘Nephilim’. Tessa Gray is trying to piece her life together after discovering a secret that has shattered it. Will Herondale is secretive about his past and his true self and lets no one in, period. James “Jem” Carstairs is the one person that is loved by everyone else and it’s no wonder with his easy, kind, and insightful nature. In fact, I have fallen in love with all the characters in this book! Cassandra Clare has done a great job writing them in such a believable way and gives a good back ground story to all of them, including the secondary characters. I can’t wait to read the next chapter of their lives! I think I may have enjoyed this book even more than those of the  other series. Overall its just a fun book with a lot of excitement and action that keeps you from setting it down for even a minute!

I think I am going to start ending each review with a favorite quote, one that won’t give anything away. So here is one from this book that I thought could take on more meanings than one.

“The smell of salt and dirt and rot came off the water, mixing with the fog. Still there was something portentous about London’s river, as if it carried the weight of the past in its currents. A bit of old poetry came into her head. “Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my story,” she said, half under her breath.” – Clockwork Prince

I’ve got some Catching up to do!

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This is the pile of books that is currently sitting at my bedside just waiting for their pages to be turned. I’ve been busy going between two series: The Infernal Devices & His Fair Assassin. One of these is a book club book. The three others are simply to-reads that I have collected. Truth be told I have read two of them already and they will be reviewed soon. Another two of them will become giveaways on this blog! Yay!

Anyone else feel like life is incredibly busy? I know you all know what I am talking about! I recently got a new job part time at my children’s elementary school. It has me excited and nervous, but I am so happy about it!  My three kids are each involved in their individual sports with practices and games each week. We’ve still got homework and school projects going on. Plus the responsibilities within my church position. I am swamped, but grateful for all the blessings with my family. This coming weekend is my annual girls trip with friends which is much anticipated and you better believe that some of these novels will be coming with me!

Keep checking in and soon I will have some reviews and giveaways coming up! Happy Spring time all!

Dark Triumph : His Fair Assassin #2

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Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2)

Author: Robin LaFevers

Published by Houghton Mifflin in April 2013

Blurb:

When Sybella arrived at the doorstep of St Mortain half mad with grief and despair the convent were only too happy to offer her refuge – but at a price. The sisters of this convent serve Death, and with Sybella naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, she could become one of their most dangerous weapons.

But her assassin’s skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to the life that nearly drove her mad. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. But when Sybella discovers an unexpected ally she discovers that a daughter of Death may find something other than vengeance to live for…

My take on it:

I was a little apprehensive about this book. I had loved the first one which was Ismae’s story. This book, I knew, was about Sybella, who appears briefly in Grave Mercy and I was not sure I liked her character very much. However, I had loved the first one so much so I knew I had to keep going. The beginning of Dark Triumph starts out near where Ismae’s story leaves off. Sybella is a character I had to get used to. She is a darker character and you soon find out why … she has a dark and troubled past. You quickly learn about the assignment she has been given by the convent and the toll it has taken on her. Our past and present continually shapes who we are and Sybella’s has shaped her into is a survivor even if she has to show a rough exterior to be such. This story takes you into her thoughts so that you can see her true feelings. Seeing things from her point of view and being able to witness the thoughts that she cannot share helped me grow to like her. Characters change and grow over the course of their story, at least that is what we hope to see, and Sybella’s character is really well written! If you can start a book not loving the main character and end it loving her then the author has done a good job! Like Ismae, Sybella gets to decide for herself who her powers and strengths will make her. I also got to reunite with some of the characters I loved from the first book! By the time I was 100 pages in I found myself trying to read and fold laundry at the same time, which I don’t recommend for the sake of a good job on the laundry! Basically I carted it around the house with me trying to multi task while reading because I was enjoying it so much.

In her notes author Robin LaFevers talks about how she enjoyed going into a more personal creativity with Dark Triumph, after having set the stage of the those times in Brittany with such accurate political moves and real characters “taken directly from history.” That is another thing that I enjoy about these books is that there is fact mixed with fiction.

I’ll leave you with a favorite quote from the book:

” It was the most foolish, jape-fisted bit of buffoonery I have ever seen, and I am impressed in spite of that.”

It’s Ugly Egg Time Baby!

Alright I’m gonna share a little Easter tradition that has been in my family since I was a little girl. I don’t know who came up with the idea, mom or dad, it was just always part of the holiday. So of course I had to carry on the tradition!

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Like many, we boil and dye our Easter eggs the week before Easter, which is a blast for the kiddos and honestly the adults like it too (come on admit it!) Well we like to have a little contest. The Ugly Egg contest to be exact. There are plenty of beautiful eggs around this time of year in their various shades of pale and bright spring colors and designs, BUT we’re giving all the glory to those ugly eggs out there!!!

We try to make one of our eggs as ugly as we can and then we vote for the ugliest one. It is a very coveted title to hold around here! So I am opening up the voting to ya’ll to help us decide which egg is the ugliest. I’ve numbered them and everyone was assigned a number. So check them out in the picture below and leave me a message with your vote!

The contestants consist of my husband, myself, my 8 year old wild man, my 6 year old darling girl, and my 3 year old silly pants. You won’t know who you’re voting for until I reveal the results of the voting! HAPPY EASTER WEEKEND!

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Much Ado About Shakespeare

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My book club occasionally has a movie night in place of a book for the month and we enjoy watching movies made based on books, though we’re not always limited to that. For the month of March we planned to get together and watch the newer version of “Much Ado About Nothing” that came out in 2012 by director Joss Whedon. The week before this event I suddenly realized that I have never watched the older version nor have I ever read the play. Basically I didn’t even know the plot of this Shakespearean play! That was a strange thought considering that he is so widely known and read and much beloved! I know many of his stories, but this one I did not! I remember covering the content and watching different film versions of Romeo and Juliet, Henry V, and Hamlet, but don’t actually remember reading all of any (many apologies to my English and literature teachers, but it could be on account of a bad memory). So I’ve decided to read these plays one at a time until I have read Shakespeare’s works.

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My Review:

How would I like the flow of reading a play? It turns out it came quite easy! I personally find it easy to transition into the old English, but in some cases it was helpful to have the footnotes at the bottom when I wasn’t sure if I understood something correctly. Oh, and quick disclaimer, I didn’t read the introduction (bad right?) I just skipped right into it. There are many versions that you can read and I am sure any would work. I chose The Oxford Shakespeare version.

It was actually quite fun. Having not known the plot I really enjoyed the witty banter of Beatrice and Benedick who so obviously love each other, but will not admit it for anything, even to themselves. The love of Claudio and Hero was sweet, but tragedy ensues when the villainous Don John plans to destroy their happiness. I found this a fun read. Watching the movie was also funny. Reading a play there are not visual cues about the scene, setting or anything really, so while preforming you could take so many different points of view. The spin of the modern movie did just that, swapping genders for some roles and really making it apply to the times.

Next on my list is to watch the 1993 version of the movie directed by Kenneth Branagh, whom I love. Then I’ll eventually pick another one of Shakespeare’s works until I can say I’ve successfully completed them. I’ll keep you posted!