Abraham Lincoln’s youngest son Thomas, nicknamed Tad, was known as a sensitive youngster. On Christmas 1864, Tad, then 10, took the spirit of the season to heart and invited some street urchins into the White House for a meal. The cooks refused to feed the kids until Tad took up the issue with the president, who ordered that the children be fed. (source)
Oh boy can you believe it’s December? Sometimes it seems just yesterday school started in late August. Where did the three months go?
It was nice to read how many of you are putting up Christmas decorations already. We don’t buy a real tree because of the clean up but this Target, artificial tree has been getting its miles over the past, couple of years:
The husband was good and took it out Sunday morning. I “fluffed up” the branches since they’re usually squashed in the box. The dames hung the ornaments. We love our tree, putting on the lights as soon as we get home.
Sorry I didn’t post yesterday. Monday kept me busy with the Costco haul which you know you then have to unload, separate meat, sanitize the kitchen, and put the rest of the dry goods away. I’ve also been busy catching up on Bloglovin’ besides WordPress blogs and not to mention, the 56 book posts on It’s Monday! What are you reading?
Today, I was glad there wasn’t a line at the copier and that I got an early start since there wasn’t anything to do in the library. I helped xerox one-sided to two-sided, 18 separate pages from three, teacher manuals – 31 copies each + there had to be four sets of these nine, double-sided pages. So what’s the total? Oh, just a little over 1K of paper. This one teacher was really nice and helped me knock on my daughter’s classroom for a student to open the door since my arms were full.
I. (Kindle version) Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
The same issues of abuse, prejudice, adversaries, and danger continue in this second installment. As I’ve written before, this series is comfort and happiness to me. As most of you have read these books I’m just going to point my favorite parts:
#1: True BFF shows in Ron’s need to investigate in person why Harry never responded to his letters + the added bonus of the fun antics of the Weasley twins.
“Ron, how did you — What —?”
Harry’s mouth fell open as the full impact of what he was seeing hit him. Ron was leaning out the back window of an old turquoise car, which was parked in midair. (Pg. 24/8%)
#2: Similar to when Willy Wonka opens the door to his chocolate room, Rowling introduces us to the wonder of a wizard house.
The clock on the wall opposite him had only one hand and no numbers at all. Written around the edge were things like Time to make tea, Time to feed the chickens, and You’re late. Books were stacked three deep on the mantelpiece, books with titles like Charm You Own Cheese, Enchantment in Baking, and Once Minute Feasts – It’s Magic! And unless Harry’s ears were deceiving him, the old radio next to the sink had just announced that coming up was “Witching Hour, with the poplar singing sorceress, Celestina Warbeck.” (Pg. 34/10%)
#3: Heartwarming, unconditional friendship
Then he turned to look at Ron, who was watching him almost nervously, as though waiting for his opinion.
“It’s a bit small,” said Ron quickly. “Not like that room you had with the Muggles. And I’m right underneath the ghoul in the attic; he’s always banging on the pipes and groaning…”
But Harry, grinning widely, said, “This is the best house I’ve ever been in.”
Ron’s ears went pink. (Pg. 40/12%)
#4: The Howler
Ron was pointing at the red envelope.
“She’s – she’s sent me a Howler, ” said Ron faintly.
“You’d better open it, Ron,” said Neville in a timid whisper. “It’ll be worse if you don’t. My gran sent me one once, and I ignored it and” – he gulped – “it was horrible.”…
A split second later, Harry knew why. He thought for a moment it had exploded; a roar of sound filled the huge hall, shaking dust from the ceiling. (Pgs. 87-88/25%)
II. Julia Quinn’s Bevelstoke Trilogy
One of the biggest things I love about Julia Quinn’s writing is her characters’ conversations. I feel like I’m in a whirlwind when they’re talking as though my head is constantly swiveling to who is speaking. After reading another series of hers, I’ve become somewhat obsessed with her books. I went to the used bookstore in town and found 10. I snapped those up immediately! And I’m still on the hunt for more, especially of the Bridgerton series.
2 March 1810 . . . Today, I fell in love.
At the age of ten, Miranda Cheever showed no signs of Great Beauty. And even at ten, Miranda learned to accept the expectations society held for her—until the afternoon when Nigel Bevelstoke, the handsome and dashing Viscount Turner, solemnly kissed her hand and promised her that one day she would grow into herself, that one day she would be as beautiful as she already was smart. And even at ten, Miranda knew she would love him forever.
But the years that followed were as cruel to Turner as they were kind to Miranda. She is as intriguing as the viscount boldly predicted on that memorable day—while he is a lonely, bitter man, crushed by a devastating loss. But Miranda has never forgotten the truth she set down on paper all those years earlier—and she will not allow the love that is her destiny to slip lightly through her fingers . . .
Miranda is pretty much a quiet, obedient young lady who has a secret, stubborn streak that flashes its colors time to time. You definitely have to be aware of the quiet ones. There are many layers to Miranda. I liked the different facets to her character, how she could be loyal and enjoy every day life, but at the same time be passionate or sarcastic and lose her temper. Four stars.
RUMORS AND GOSSIP … THE LIFEBLOOD OF LONDON
When Olivia Bevelstoke is told that her new neighbor may have killed his fiancee, she doesn’t believe it for a second, but, still, how can she help spying on him, just to be sure? So she stakes out a spot near her bedroom window, cleverly concealed by curtains, watches, and waits … and discovers a most intriguing man, who is definitely up to something.
Sir Harry Valentine works for the boring branch of the War Office, translating documents vital to national security. He’s not a spy, but he’s had all the training, and when a gorgeous blonde begins to watch him from her window, he is instantly suspicious. But just when he decides that she’s nothing more than an annoyingly nosy debutante, he discovers that she might be engaged to a foreign prince, who might be plotting against England. And when Harry is roped into spying on Olivia, he discovers that he might be falling for her himself …
London as you know in these Regency romances is all about proper society with its strict rules, scandalous behavior usually on the DL, and the love of gossip. However, Lady Olivia Bevelstoke is one with a strong personality besides beauty. She’s turned many suitors away because she hasn’t met her match yet nor felt that instant, physical attraction with any man until she meets Sir Valentine.
I enjoyed this book. I was continually entertained by the dialogues. I gave this read three and a half stars because toward the end I felt a situation was thrown in front of me when there were no, I guess you can say, portents hinting at what could happen. Everything was loosely based upon a character. The ending was good though.
Annabel Winslow is in a pickle. Having newly arrived in London for her first season and being in possession of a voluptuous figure, is being openly courted by the Earl of Newbury, who is at least 75 and a nasty brute to boot. Annabel does not want to marry him, of course, but feels that she has no choice since her father has recently died and left the whole family, including Annabel’s mother her 7 siblings, almost destitute.
Then, while attending a party in the countryside, Annabel met Sebastian Grey, the Earl of Newbury’s nephew. And suddenly she found herself not only courted by the lecherous uncle, but also the charming young nephew. Should she follow her heart so that she can be with the one she loves, or should she marry the loathsome earl just so she can put food on the table for her family and make sure that her brothers get to stay in school?
I was charmed by this third installment. I consider this a big plus since trilogies can sometimes die out by the last book. There was a good and smooth flow of the plot. Every step in the story made sense.
There was development of the characters. The relationship of the featured couple was like a simmering eggnog. You had a quirky grandmother and society in addition to an ominous, lecherous lord. I want to point out how grateful I am about how far along women’s rights have come. I kind of got a glimpse of the dark side of this period for young ladies:
But never–never–had attentions been any less wanted than they were right now, with Lord Newbury staring at her like a sugared treat.
“Your friends,” Annabel murmured. Her grandmother’s contemporaries had wanted to marry the man who most likely wanted to marry her.
“And he’ll die soon,” her grandmother continued. “You couldn’t hope for more.”
Please excuse the lack of noted pages. I had taken pictures of these passages so I could pass on the last two books to my mum. Imagine not having a choice in marriage because of your family’s financial circumstances or their thirst for some kind of status. I think it’s because I have daughters that this affected me in some way. But other than that, I think this was the best book out of the Bevelstoke trilogy. Four stars.
Well, today is early dismissal so I need to refuel again before embarking upon princess pick up. I hope your hump day is going well and you are keeping warm. TTYL!